Q: Can my employer deny my domestic partner healthcare coverage? We live in California; fam. code section 297 suggests no.
Employer (FedEx), who provides fully paid coverage is saying they aren’t covering domestic partners at the start of the nee year. All California bills/acts I’m reading suggest that is not something they can do. HR has been twisting themselves into pretzels to try to make a case that they are within right to deny. Every rebuttal has been a different answer.
A: While I am not aware of any California law requiring employers to provide health insurance, I believe that employers that offer health insurance to spouses, must also offer them to domestic partners. I believe that you should contact the California Department of Insurance for assistance and/or clarification.
California Insurance code section 381.5 provides as follows:
"(a) Every policy issued, amended, delivered, or renewed in this state shall provide coverage for the registered domestic partner of an insured or policyholder that is equal to, and subject to the same terms and conditions as, the coverage provided to a spouse of an insured or policyholder. A policy may not offer or provide coverage for a registered domestic partner if it is not equal to the coverage provided for the spouse of an insured or policyholder. This subdivision applies to all forms of insurance regulated by this code.
(b) A policy subject to this section that is issued, amended, delivered, or renewed in this state on or after January 1, 2005, shall be deemed to provide coverage for registered domestic partners that is equal to the coverage provided to a spouse of an insured or policyholder.
(c) It is the intent of the Legislature that, for purposes of this section, “terms,” “conditions,” and “coverage” do not include instances of differential treatment of domestic partners and spouses under federal law.
(Added by Stats. 2004, Ch. 488, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2005.)"
It is my opinion that Fedex cannot deny coverage to your spouse if you are issued health coverage which includes coverage for spouses. They know they are not allowed to deny coverage to your registered domestic partner if one of the benefits of employment is health insurance coverage for you and your family.
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