Employee benefits now available to same-sex spouses and their dependents
On Aug. 1, a new Minnesota law took effect which recognizes same-sex civil marriages entered into in Minnesota, as well as same-sex marriages entered into in other states and countries. As a result, employees can now extend benefits coverage to same-sex spouses and their dependents under age 26. These benefits are the same benefits available to heterosexual married couples (medical and dental coverage, life insurance, health savings accounts, etc.).
30-day enrollment requirement
Same-sex couples do not need to wait until open enrollment to extend their benefits coverage. However, they must act within a 30-day time period.
- Same-sex couples legally married prior to Aug. 1, 2013 have 30 days from Aug. 1, 2013, to sign up for benefits. Coverage will become effective Aug. 1, 2013.
- Same-sex couples who marry on or after Aug. 1, 2013 have 30 days from the date of their marriage to sign up for benefits. Coverage will be effective as of the date of marriage.
Employees can also enroll for a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or increase contributions to that account, if already enrolled. Employees currently enrolled for optional life insurance can add dependent life insurance and cover their same-sex spouses.
Couples that fail to sign up for benefits during the 30-day time period outlined above will have to wait for the next open enrollment period to sign up for benefits. (Open enrollment is held each autumn.)
Complete the necessary enrollment forms
To enroll a same-sex spouse and their dependents for City-sponsored benefit plan coverage, employees must complete enrollment forms and return them with required documents. Enrollment forms and instructions are available online at http://www.minneapolismn.gov/hr/benefits/medical/benefits_change-elections. Additionally, employees should consult with their tax advisors to determine whether their income tax withholding should be changed.
- Medical coverage.
- Dental coverage.
- Life insurance.
- Reimbursement under the employee's Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and Health Reimbursement Account (HRA/VEBA).
- Family leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
- PERA (Public Employees Retirement Association) survivor benefits.
- The option to continue benefit coverage when the employee leaves City employment.
For more information
Published Aug 7, 2013