University Adds Medical Coverage for Domestic Partners

(From: Columbia Benefits Update for Officers,Office of Personnel Management & Human Resources, November/December, 1993 (v.1:no.7), p.1-2.

Effective January 1, 1994, qualified domestic partners will be recognized as eligible dependents for coverage under the Columbia University Medical Options Plan for active faculty, officers and full-time staff not covered by a labor agreement.

Although Columbia is not the first university or employer to cover domestic partners, Columbia's program will break new ground. The University's program will, for the first time in New York, offer domestic partner coverage under all its health plans, including the Oxford Point of Service (POS) plan and traditional Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs). Typically, insured plans such as HMOs have not covered domestic partners. To make coverage available through the insured programs, the University had to receive approval from the New York State Insurance department. Both New York State and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) require employers and their employees to meet certain regulatory requirements.

To enroll a qualified domestic partner for coverage for the remainder of this plan year, you and your partner must complete an application by December 31,1993, and meet these criteria:

  • Because of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations, you must pay the monthly payroll contributions for your partner's portion of the coverage on an after-tax, not a pre-tax basis. In addition, under law, the amount that Columbia pays toward your domestic partner's coverage will count as taxable income. This income is subject to ordinary federal income taxation and social Security taxes (FICA), which are normally withheld through payroll deducations.

    The Benefits Office can provide you with more information about the program, as well as an enrollment form.