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More Same-Sex Couples Offered Health Insurance Than Ever

obama2With President Obama’s recent declaration that he thinks gay marriage should be legal, the press has been buzzing about the rights of same-sex couples more than usual – and that’s saying something. We love a hot, controversial topic, as long as it ties into the hottest topic of them all – health insurance!

You might be surprised to find out that as of last year, 52 percent of employers already offered domestic partner health benefits. This is up from 31 percent in 2010. These statistics are derived from a recent survey conducted by Mercer, a benefit consultant group. Apparently, employers tend to feel that by offering domestic partner health insurance, they will be able to attract a wider pool of talent interested in staying on board for longer periods of time.

It would appear that the times, they are a changin’.

It should be noted, however that percentages of businesses offering group health insurance that cater to domestic partners varies greatly depending on what region of the country you work in. In the West, 79 percent of large companies extend this benefit, while only 28 percent do in the South.

Here are some more interesting facts surrounding the issue:

  • In 1982, The Village Voice newspaper in New York City was the first private employer ever to offer domestic partner benefits to their employees.
  • In 1995, Vermont became the first state to offer domestic partner benefits to state workers.
  • 58 percent of Fortune 500 companies currently offer domestic partner benefits.
  • Same-sex partners of federal workers are still not eligible for domestic partner benefits due to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. There is plenty of opposition to this law and it is likely that the issue will be brought before the Supreme Court.
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