Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"Everything but marriage" law for domestic partners is leading in the polls: What would it mean?

Referendum 71, which would uphold the state's "everything but marriage" law for domestic partners, is holding a narrow lead in voting statewide. The results won't be certified for weeks, but we've prepared some information about its effects if it's upheld.

Here are some of the critical questions:

Will my domestic partner now be covered by my health insurance?

Not automatically. The law would require your insurance company to offer you the option to cover your state registered domestic partner under your policy, but you will need to check with your insurance company to find out how to obtain this coverage for your partner. You may need to wait for an "open enrollment" period when new enrollments are allowed. These open enrollment periods generally happen at set times of the year, often in January or fall. (Note: Some employers already cover domestic partners, and have for years.)

Is my domestic partner automatically covered by my auto and home insurance?

If the law takes effect, your state registered domestic partner would be considered your family member, the same as a spouse. You would probably need to contact your insurance companies to inform them of your state registered domestic partnership. You would also need to find out by reading your policies or asking your insurance companies how your coverage applies to your registered domestic partner. For example, many auto insurance policies cover you and any family members who drive your car.

For more on these sorts of questions, see this webpage that we put together.

For a more detailed look at what the law would require from insurers, please see this FAQ for companies.

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