Federal Domestic Partner Benefits Could Cost $300M or More

May 19, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – The federal government would have to spend more than $300 million over 10 years to fund the granting of the same benefits now given to employee spouses to employee domestic partners.

That was the bottom line of a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study of the issue, according to govexec.com.   In addition to $310 million in direct costs between 2010 and 2020, CBO calculates the 2009 Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act (SB 1102) would increase benefits-related discretionary spending by $394 million over the same period.

Providing health care to domestic partners would account for most of the increases in both direct and discretionary spending — $294 million and $355 million, respectively.

According to the govexec.com report, the CBO assumed the Senate bill will be enacted late in 2010 and about 0.33% of federal employees would choose to register a same-sex partnership if given the opportunity. CBO also estimated about 80% of individuals eligible under the proposal would move from single to family health coverage and 85% would elect a survivor benefit for a domestic partner.

Coverage provided for in the bill would include health insurance, survivor annuities, compensation for work-related injuries, and travel and relocation benefits to federal employees’ same-sex partners.

The CBO document is here.