OU Formally Enacts Same-Sex Partner Insurance Coverage

October 22, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Ohio University (OU) has formalized a four-year-old practice of providing full medical and dental coverage to same-sex domestic partners of university employees and their children.

A news report in The Post said OU adopted a policy first approved September 9 relating to the benefits coverage. The newspaper said it was four years after Miami University became the first Ohio public university to provide full benefits to same-sex domestic partners of employees (See Ohio Lawmaker Has No Standing in Same-Sex Benefits Suit ).

The schools do not extend health care benefits to heterosexual domestic partners. “Same-sex couples do not have the avenue of getting married in Ohio,” Greg Fialko, OU’s benefits director, told the newspaper. “The avenue for getting these benefits for a heterosexual couple is to get married.”

Becky Watts, chief of staff for OU President Roderick McDavis, said the practice is growing. “It’s evolving . . . It’s not even at all Ohio universities.”

After Governor Bob Taft issued a statement encouraging universities to move forward with domestic partner plans in 2004, then-OU President Robert Glidden issued a declaration allowing employees’ domestic partners to participate in OU’s benefits plan.

Despite having offered benefits since 2004, the program remained unofficial until earlier this year, the news report said. Fialko said that the offering of benefits has faced no opposition.

“In the four years we’ve been in it I have not found anyone trying to slow it down, or prevent it from becoming university policy,” Fialko said.