Tuesday, June 30, 2009

PEBP Board approves domestic partner health insurance on self-funded basis

The PEBP Board today voted 5-3 to allow Nevada state employees who participate in the PEBP health insurance plan to enroll their registered domestic partners in the plan on a self-funded (ie, unsubsidized) basis.

This action follow the Board's vote a year ago to allow domestic partners to enroll health insurance if the funding was made available; while the state legislature recognized domestic partners in the past session without mandating health insurance coverage, it did not fund PEBP coverage of domestic partners. So today the Board decided to allow domestic partners to enroll only on a self-funded basis -- ie, with no cost to the state and with no additional cost to other plan participants.

The Faculty Alliance has been advocating domestic partner health benefits for NSHE employees since at least 2002 when it began lobbying the Board of Regents to extend this benefit. The UNLV Faculty Senate and successive UNLV Presidents have been advocating this benefit since at least 2005. Today's vote was greatly facilitated by the work of several NFA members, notably Jim Richardson and UNLV Law professor and NFA state legal defense chair Rob Correales who helped establish the legal basis for this action.

The PEBP staff will now work on implementing the plan in a cost-neutral basis; it is not yet clear from today's action if the option of enrollment for domestic partners will be available for the coming enrollment season (October) or for next spring's enrollment.

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