University of KY Puts Domestic Partner Benefits Plan in Place

June 21, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The University of Kentucky has unveiled a domestic partner benefits program under which domestic partners and "sponsored dependents" would qualify for coverage that includes provisions suggested by the state attorney general to comply with the Kentucky consitution's Marriage Amendment.

According to a Lexington Herald-Leader news report, University spokesman Jay Blanton said the new plan expands the definition of who is eligible to those not in a romantic relationship with the UK employee, such as platonic roommates. T he new plan extends the time period for living together from six months to one year and now requires less paperwork for proving the relationship between the employee and dependent.

In Kentucky Attorney General Greg Stumbo’s requested opinion on the legality of domestic partner benefit plans put into place for the University of Louisville and proposed for the University of Kentucky (See KY AG: Domestic Partner Benefits Unconstitutional ) he said the schools’ plans were “too exclusive in defining the class of beneficiaries,” and suggested that “the universities could elect to offer health insurance benefits to all of an employee’s dependents, or to use any other approach that would not involve the unconstitutional recognition of a legal status resembling that of marriage.”

Under the new plan, employees can extend coverage to one qualifying adult and/or that person’s children in their household, the Herald-Leader reports.

Specific guidelines for the new coverage include:

  • The sponsored dependent must share a primary residence with a covered University employee and have lived with the employee for at least 12 months before the effective date of coverage.
  • The sponsored dependent cannot be a relative and cannot be employed by the employee.
  • A child being provided coverage must be the natural-born or adopted child of an employee-sponsored dependent and be under 25.
  • The dependent cannot be a relative of the employee.

Employees must sign an application stating the employee and dependent(s) are eligible and must provide proof of the living arrangement going back 12 months, such as a utility bill or school records or day care bill for a child, according to the news report.

Enrollment for the new program will take place over the next two weeks up to July 1. University of Kentucky said the plan will be paid for with money from unrestricted gifts to the university.

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