University of Louisville to Offer Domestic Partner Benefits

October 11, 2007 ( - The University of Louisville will offer health benefits to domestic partners of employees, but they will have to pay more for the benefits than spouses of employees.

The university, under pressure from the state’s governor and attorney general, said it would allow coverage for one “qualifying adult” – domestic partner or otherwise – in an employee’s household, as well as for that person’s children.

According to the news report, the employees who sign up for the coverage will have to pay the full cost of the monthly premiums without any university contributions, making it far more expensive than premiums for spouses. The cost for an employee and a qualified adult without children ranges from $416.35 a month to $1,123.79 a month, depending on the plan. In contrast, coverage for an employee and spouse costs from $211.75 to $786.58.

University of Louisville employees can begin enrolling October 22 for health-insurance coverage that will take effect January 1. In doing so, the university hoped to get around the argument by Governor Ernie Fletcher and Attorney General Greg Stumbo that providing domestic partner benefits is illegal because of the state’s ban on gay marriage (See KY AG: Domestic Partner Benefits Unconstitutional and KY’s Fletcher Calls Special Legislative Session for Domestic Partner Benefits Ban).

Stumbo’s opposition surfaced after the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky originally put in place programs that would offer domestic partner benefits. In a 17-page opinion issued in June, the attorney general said that health insurance coverage may not be offered when it is limited to a narrowly defined class but may be freely provided to a larger category of persons.

The University of Louisville program is similar to the one implemented at the University of Kentucky, in which that university acknowledged Stumbo’s opinion and extended the coverage to others living with employees, not just domestic partners (SeeUniversity of KY Puts Domestic Partner Benefits Plan in Place ).