Domestic Partnerships

I trying to find if there is any law in New York State that mandates that a employer 0-50 to provide health or dental coverage for Domestic Partnerships?? Anyone know where I can find the correct answer?


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  • Good afternoon Bover,

    I sorry I could not find a more definitive but under the BLR's state by state comparison for "Mandated Insurance" I found under NY the following:

    Dependent coverage mandates:

    Newborns covered at birth including premature birth, congenital defects, and birth abnormalities. Adoptees covered from time employee takes custody. Handicapped dependents covered regardless of age. One year of coverage for college student on medical leave of absence who would otherwise lose coverage solely because he or she is not attending school.

    Citation: McKinney’s Consol. Laws Ins. Law § 4305(c)(1), § 3237.

    Discrimination prohibitions:

    Discrimination on basis of DES exposure.

    Citation: McKinney’s Consol. Laws Ins. Law § 3225.

    Miscellaneous benefit requirements:

    Managed care plans must cover chiropractor care. No financial penalties for second opinions from out-of-network specialists referred by attending physician. Internal and external appeal of benefits denied for lack of medical necessity. Insurers issuing small employer health insurance plans covering from two to 50 employees must use “community rating” when setting premiums; once accepted for coverage, a small employer group may not be terminated by the insurer due to claims experience.

    Citation: McKinney’s Consol. Laws Ins. Law § 3221(k)(9), § 3221(k)911), § 4900 et seq., § 3231 et seq.

    Additionally, in another source I have which is a 2013 HR Law Guide (hardcopy) that I have from a publisher by the name of "Wolters Kluwer" (this reference is so big you could park one of those Smart cars on it) provided the following - maybe related information: 

    In March 2005, a New York appellate court struck down a New York City ordinance that would have required city contractors to provide domestic partner benefits to their employees to the same extent they provide spousal benefits.  The court found that the ordinance violated state law because it excluded a class of bidders for reasons unrelated to price or quality of the goods or services to be provided.  The court also found that the ordinance violated ERISA.

    The Human Rights Campaign organization might be a good group to get in contact with for more information (other than going to an attorney - like me you probably don't have in house counsel to run this question by).  Here is a link to this group

    Good luck!  Tom

  • Hi Bover;

    An update on your question . . .

    Spouses in a same-sex marriage have all rights and benefits as spouses in an opposite-sex marriage. Any references in state law to the spousal relationship apply to same-sex marriages. Parties to a same-sex marriage, therefore, are entitled to family leave benefits, deductions provided for under state and municipal taxation, and public assistance benefits. Employers in New York are required to provide the same benefits, such as health insurance, to same-sex spouses of employees as provided to opposite-sex spouses.


    Note: The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down as unconstitutional Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage as only between a man and a woman (United States v. Windsor, No. 12-307 (June 26, 2013)). The ruling requires equal treatment under federal law of spouses in legally recognized same-sex and opposite-sex marriages. Therefore, employee benefits regulated by federal law such as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and federal income tax law must provide equally for those in same-sex and opposite-sex marriages.


    Tax consequences. Under federal and state law, an employer's contribution to health insurance for a spouse is exempt from taxation. An employer's contribution to health insurance for a same-sex spouse or civil union partner is exempt from taxation under New York personal income tax.

    Recognition of out-of-state unions. New York recognizes any marriage legally entered into in another jurisdiction.
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