Domestic Partner Coverage Goes Mainstream

By Michael Verespej The number of U.S. businesses, colleges, and governments that offer health insurance to domestic partners of employees -- not just employees and their spouses and families -- has increased 25% in the last year to more than 3,500. What's more, over 20% of the nation's largest private employers now offer such coverage, says the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Washington, D.C., a lesbian and gay rights advocacy group. HRC's survey results, released Sept. 25, also found that about 10 employers per week now add such coverage compared with one per week five years ago. High-tech companies are still in the forefront of offering such benefits. However, the report applauded what it called a "landmark move" last June by major automakers DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, and Ford to expand such coverage to its 400,000 collective employees: "[It was] the first time that virtually an entire sector of American commerce, along with its leading union, decided collectively to provide domestic partner benefits."

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