I have awful healthcare - can I get domestic partner benefits with my GIRLFRIEND? I'm a boy.
August 10, 2011 5:32 PM   Subscribe

I'm a guy. Can I get domestic partner benefits in California with my girlfriend?

So I've got awful insurance. My live-in girlfriend of a year and half has the much rumored cadillac plan. She wants to put me on her plan but neither of us is thinking wedding. She because she's a little gun shy (it'd be her third) and me because...well cowardice is a good start. And because I don't think I'd be able to be okay with having my very first trip down the aisle connected to my desire for a low co-pay.

But could domestic partner benefits could be an option in my state? Or is it company by company? And is the idea that it HAS to be a same sex couple?
posted by rileyray3000 to Law & Government (12 answers total)
My workplace, based in California, offers domestic partner benefits only to same-sex couples. It may be different if the organization is a state or city contractor. But as far as I know, it's company by company.
posted by rtha at 5:38 PM on August 10, 2011

I (guy) worked for a company that offered domestic partner benefits and was able to get my partner (who is now my wife) on the insurance plan without any problem. All we had to do was sign an affidavit affirming the nature of our partnership.

For what it's worth, I was working for Starbucks and living in Alabama. I had an impression that for SBUX to offer such benefits for same-sex couples that they would have to offer them to opposite-sex couples as well, but that may have just been a company policy.
posted by ndfine at 5:42 PM on August 10, 2011

As far as I know, it's company by company. I had insurance through my now-husband's job at two different companies in California. Like ndfine, it was just a matter of signing an affidavit.
posted by mostlymartha at 5:47 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

California law only allows domestic partnerships for either:

(a) Same-sex couples
(b) Opposite-sex couples over 62

So no.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:48 PM on August 10, 2011

Welll.... I should say that you can't, in California, have a legally recognized domestic partnership.

Obviously a company can still give benefits if they want. But the majority of companies I've heard of give benefits for spouses or legally recognized domestic partners, not for unofficial partnerships. But only a given company could tell you for sure.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:49 PM on August 10, 2011

Another vote for company-by-company. As wildcrdj says, you can't have a legally recognized opposite-sex domestic partnership, but I know several opposite-sex couples who are "domestic partnered" for the purposes of health care benefits in the eyes of one of their employers.
posted by brainmouse at 5:52 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, definitely check her company's policy. Unless the policy states you have to be a legal domestic partner, it may not matter. State law is likely irrelevant. At my former workplace, we offered benefits to same and opposite sex partners, even though my state (KY) recognizes neither. All people had to do was sign an affidavit.

FYI: you will likely be taxed on the value of your coverage since you don't have a legal relationship. Since this is a benefit-rich plan, that tax bill could be pretty hefty. Your girlfriend/partner should be able to get more details from her HR benefits person.
posted by pecanpies at 5:59 PM on August 10, 2011

Yep, it's company by company. My boyfriend has benefits through my job in L.A., and all I had to do was bring in a utility bill or something to show that we are both at the same address.
posted by scody at 6:00 PM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

My California company's insurance plan allowed for opposite sex domestic partnerships. You had to have been living together for at least 6 months and sign an affidavit (and notarized) that basically said you were responsible for the care and well-being of each other on a permanent basis, in other words, that you were in a relationship. Got to check your plan documents, or ask HR.
posted by magnetsphere at 6:15 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

The city of San Francisco has a domestic partnership registration program that was put into place before the existence of the state domestic partnership law, and which does allow registration of opposite-sex partnerships.
posted by zombiedance at 6:16 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's been my understanding that insurance companies only offer domestic partner coverage plans to companies with more than X employees. (50 maybe?) So, if she works in a smallish shop it may not be an option, even if they wanted to extend it to domestic partners. Or maybe that's a convenient lie that draconian HR people have been using on me for years. YMMV.

If I were your girlfriend, I'd ask a friendly co-worker. Then I'd email the HR rep.
posted by mumkin at 9:03 PM on August 10, 2011

Just ask the HR folks. At least one employer I had in SF would have let this happen.
posted by bendy at 11:01 PM on August 10, 2011

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