DOMESTIC PARTNERS: More Companies Providing Benefits
More employers are "offering health insurance benefits to the partners of gay and lesbian employees," according to a new study by the Human Rights Campaign, the New York Times reports. The group, which "represents gay, lesbian and transgender Americans," found that as of last month, 3,572 companies, colleges, and state and local governments were offering or preparing to offer coverage to domestic partners, up 25% from 2,856 last year. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed offer domestic partner benefits to same-sex and opposite-sex couples, while 35% offer benefits only to same-sex couples (New York Times, 9/26). The survey, titled " State of the Workplace for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Americans," also found the number of Fortune 500 companies providing domestic partner benefits increased from 70 to 102 over the past year. Kim Mills, education director of the Human Rights Campaign, said, "Domestic partner benefits are increasingly becoming a standard business practice in corporate America. Employers have discovered that these benefits help attract and keep the best workers, a critical consideration in the current tight job market" ( AP/Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/26). Although the federal government does not offer same-sex benefits to its employees, the report found that 90 state and local governments provide domestic partner benefits. Since August 1999, Connecticut and Washington have been added to this group -- joining California, New York, Vermont and Oregon -- as have 12 cities and counties nationwide. The study follows the June announcement by Ford Motor, DaimlerChrysler and General Motors that they would provide same-sex partner benefits to their 466,000 U.S. employees. The Human Rights Campaign report hailed this decision as a "landmark move" by corporate America (New York Times, 9/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.