Making COBRA available for domestic partners, too

Losing a job is difficult enough. But even more disruptive is losing your health coverage. That’s why many people opt for COBRA to maintain their coverage after termination – protection and peace of mind for you, your spouse and your dependent children.

But what if you’re in a gay relationship? Under current COBRA law, continuation coverage would not apply to your same-sex spouse or partner, even if you worked for a company that offered this level of health coverage.

Senator Barbara Boxer of California wants to do something about that. She recently introduced legislation – the Equal Access to COBRA Act of 2010 - that would allow many domestic partners the same access to COBRA health coverage that married couples currently have.

COBRA coverage would apply to those companies that already offer health benefits to domestic partners and their children. (Currently, that amounts to more than half of Fortune 500 companies.) Domestic partners could also tap into the 65% COBRA premium subsidy that has been extended a couple of times under the Obama administration.

On her website, Barbara Boxer states:

“This is a question of fairness: Every family deserves access to health insurance, especially in this tough economy. This bill ensures that domestic partners and their families will have equal access to health coverage after a job loss.”

Boxer’s proposed bill is now with the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

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