Monday, December 01, 2008

Howdy Partner

We spent the past four days doing...well, nothing. Corey and his moms came over on Thursday and other than that, we did nothing all weekend. OK, there was little studying and a lot of sleeping & watching TV, but I was thankful to have a low-key holiday.

Larry & I also had another thing to be thankful for this month. Both of our companies announced domestic partner insurance benefits for 2009. I know this might slip under the radar for many of you, but this is HUGE for us. For the first time in our lives, if either of us became unemployed, we don't have to scramble to find a job just for medical coverage.

I know there is COBRA but do you realize, this also allows one of us to pursue any independent career and not worry about trying to afford individual insurance. We've always been tied to jobs because of medical benefits. Hell, I stayed at my last miserable company while I searched for job primarily for the medical coverage.

In the late 90's, I worked for an grocery association that had way too much money. The CFO wanted Lasik eye surgery and quickly distributed a health care memo allowing for the entire process to be covered under insurance. Since his wife wanted it as well, dependents were also included. I quickly went to HR to try putting Larry on my plan since he wanted the surgery. The company said it couldn't afford to add partnerships because then anyone who lived together for more than a few years could take advantage of policy and break them.

Of the 212 employees, only 2 of us qualified under the policy. That same year, one guy in the exhibit department got married, his new wife had the surgery 6 weeks later and then divorced him within a year. Phew...I could see the tight constraints needed to protect reckless spending.

Larry & I have spent much of our life together creating protective documentation. We have living wills so that Larry can pull the plug on me AND decide where I'm buried instead of that rite going to my parents. I can inherit his retirement instead of some cousin in Colorado that I've never met. And legal paperwork allows me to enter his hospital room. Right or wrong, it's just something you get used to.

But new doors have been opened with partner coverage. I actually could become a consultant if I wished. I'm not certain that's my path, but it's nice to have options, isn't it?

Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!



Blogger Bacchus said...

Congratulations! It is a big step. Hubby's company offers domestic partnership insurance and that is what allows me to stay home with Little Man.

12:45 PM  
Blogger john said...

thats great on your domestic partnership insurance. Were from MASS. and sometimes i forget there are some states that are still trying to catch Nice blog by the way.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Lola and Ava said...

Congrats . . . Dave's company has offered it for as long as I can remember, which is saying something (the offering, not the "I'm losing my memory" part).

5:41 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

While I'm pleased that this is something that you're finally being given, I resent the fuck out of the fact that you have to settle for measly scraps. You and Larry deserve nothing less - NOTHING less - than full equality under the law. It burns my cookies that you still don't have it.

Sorry; this is me being a little bit of a malcontent. Separate is not equal, and I'm pissed that we still haven't learned that yet.

(not for nothing, but my word verification is "allys." How's THAT for serendipity!?)

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Steven at Green Dads said...

I could stand four days doing nothing right about now.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Papa Bradstein said...

Well, that is something to be thankful for. I'm still surprised when I hear of organizations that don't cover partners, even though many still don't. After all, organizations don't offer benefits to improve their bottom line, they do it to keep employees happy, and what would make employees happier than being able to provide coverage for their partners? Anyway, happy day, you turkeys.

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Dan in WI said...

Congratulations! It always seems like it's overdue when a private sector company finally offers domestic partner benefits, but it's still important to celebrate (and remind everyone else). I used to work aggressively on the DP benefits issue and question everyone with whom I did business about it, and call them on their various fallacies (no one else is doing it, no insurance company will cover it, too expensive) as needed.

As you may know, employer-paid premiums to cover the partner are considered income by the IRS and have to be added on in imputed form by the employer, unless the partner is a qualified IRS dependent (i.e., basically no income, over half support from employee). So that in itself creates a disincentive for people to sign up unless they really need the insurance--unlike married couples, who double-dip regularly to no one's benefit but the insurance companies (or the insurance pool).

COBRA is great...for the 18 months it lasts; and it is out-of-pocket. My partner's COBRA ran out (slithered out?) after 18 months; he went back to school.

My employer (a Big Ten university--guess which one, ha) doesn't offer DP health insurance. So he's paying full premiums for a state-managed plan, usually used for the destitute and deathly ill. Of course, it doesn't include dental. But with his physical disability, it's essential to have insurance.

So congrats!!! Having the same options and choices and ultimately freedoms, that's what it's all about.

3:27 PM  

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