Drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. plans to offer health insurance and other benefits to unmarried domestic partners of its U.S. employees and retirees. The move comes a year after the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign started targeting pharmaceutical companies to offer such benefits. Lilly had been one of only two holdouts among the 12 major drugmakers not offering the benefits, which company officials admitted had been a hindrance in attracting top researchers. "We simply cannot afford to be at any competitive disadvantage in this war for talent," Lilly spokesman Rob Smith said.
The benefits will become effective January 1 and will be extended to Lilly retirees and the company's 22,000 U.S. employees. Smith said Lilly expects the broadened benefits to increase Lilly's health care costs by about 1%. Lilly is offering benefits to both same- and opposite-sex unmarried partners. "This is great news," said Kim I. Mills, HRC education director. "This is a company we had been looking at" as part of HRC's lobbying effort.