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Health

Insurers offer
domestic-partner coverage to small New York City
businesses

Insurers offer
domestic-partner coverage to small New York City
businesses

Prodded by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, four health insurance companies have agreed for the first time to offer domestic-partner coverage to city businesses with fewer than 50 employees, GayHealth.com reports. Group Health Incorporated, Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, HIP Health Plans of New York, and Horizon Healthcare Insurance Company of New York all have agreed to provide domestic-partnership coverage to small businesses that also extend health care benefits to spouses and children of their employees.

"Until now, it has been impossible for businesses with fewer than 50 employees to add a rider to their existing policy to provide domestic-partner health coverage, even if they wanted to," said Alan Van Capelle, executive director of Empire State Pride Agenda, a statewide gay rights organization, in a press statement. "For employers that believed it was important to provide all employees the opportunity to insure their loved ones, it meant having the employee purchase an expensive individual policy for their partner and then bearing the cost by reimbursing the employee for the policy. This was never a realistic or economical solution to what is a critical problem for our families."

New York City companies, however, do not have to automatically offer domestic-partnership coverage but can choose to do so if they wish. In the coming months, it will become clearer which small New York City businesses discriminate against gays and lesbians by not offering domestic-partnership coverage to their gay workers, Van Capelle says.

Bloomberg also reportedly signed an executive order requiring his administration to continue working to encourage other health insurers to provide domestic-partner coverage to small businesses in New York City. He also pledged to inform city vendors and other businesses unaware of the change in insurance options that they can now enroll for the new domestic-partner benefits. (Advocate.com)

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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