Will Companies Ditch Domestic-Partner Health Care Benefits?

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Now that same-sex couples can legally marry, some companies are ditching their domestic-partner health care programs.

Unmarried American couples wanting to secure domestic partner health care benefits need to be prepared for some big changes to their health care coverage.

According to MoneyWatch, many companies and industries have offered domestic health care benefits to unmarried couples, but those benefit packages may be getting the boot now that it’s legal for same-sex couples to marry.

J.D. Piro, a senior vice president at Aon-Hewitt, tells the Atlanta Business Chronicle that deciding whether to keep or drop domestic-partner benefits varies dramatically by company and industry.

“Employers now have to ask themselves, do we need to offer these benefits given the talented and engaged workforce that we want to attract and retain? Every employer is going to make a different decision on it. Is it popular in your workforce? Is there a high take rate? Is it popular in your industry? Is it something your competitors offer? Do you need to offer it to stay competitive? It’s looked at like any other tools in the benefits toolbox.”

In 2015, roughly 62 percent of companies offered same-sex domestic partner health plans, MoneyWatch reports. That percentage dropped to 57 percent this year. Now a recent Mercer survey reveals that 11 percent of large employers plan to ditch their domestic partner health plans in 2017.

“With 11 percent of companies dropping domestic partner coverage, it’s probably safe to assume that domestic partner coverage will continue to decline,” says Tracy Watts, senior partner at Mercer.

But dropping the coverage could be an issue for some Americans. MarketWatch says:

Dropping domestic-partner coverage may encourage same-sex couples to get married. But a couple that has been together for years, maybe decades, may already have property ownership and estate plans in place that take into account their nonmarried status. They may not be willing to change all of that and get married for the sake of health care and other corporate benefits.

Where does your company stand on domestic partner benefits? Find out by reading your open-enrollment information.

What do you think of companies getting rid of their domestic health care insurance? Sound off below or on our Facebook page.

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