York City Employees May Get Domestic Partner Health Insurance

Both same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partners of York City employees may now be eligible for health insurance provided by the city.

The city council Tuesday approved a resolution that permits domestic partners of city employees who are not legally married – those in “nontraditional relationships” – to be included in that employee’s city-provided health and prescription drug insurance.

To qualify, a couple would have declare their “domestic legitimacy” in a notarized statement, prove they have lived together for at least six months, and are “financially interdependent” through the presentation of various cosigned financial documents such as car loans and property leases.

The resolution takes effect immediately, and the city will soon be mailing employees notices that they have 30 days to apply for the new benefit. If someone who might qualify does not apply in 30 days, they would have to wait until the next open enrollment in the following year, said Tom Ray, city deputy business administrator for human resources.

The resolution passed 4-1.

Council member Renee Nelson said she voted against the measure because six months is not long enough to establish a true domestic partnership.

“Six months is not a domestic partner by any means, and I have heard some companies require several years,” Nelson said after the meeting adjourned. “I don’t disagree with providing benefits to same-sex or opposite-sex nontraditional partners, but you can move in and out in six months and you don’t even know if you like the person.”

Ray said he expected the cost increase to the city to be 1 to 2 percent above what the city pays now for employee health insurance. He said he did not have the exact figure employee health insurance costs the city, but said it is in the millions of dollars.