Domestic Partner Health Benefits in the Age of Same-Sex Marriage

Event ID:15046

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DL Only                 $349.00 includes DL and materials
Duration: 90 minutes including question and answer period.
Presenter: Christine Williams, founder, Health Plan Plain Talk
Price: $349.00, DL includes full audio presentation, question and answer session, and presentation slides.
CE Credits: This program has been approved for 1.5 general recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR, and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute.
Who Should Attend? HR, employee benefits, financial officers, in-house counsel, and CEOs

Now that same-sex marriage must be recognized across the United States, is there still a role for domestic partner benefits to play? Many employers offered domestic partner health benefits to same-sex domestic partners because marriage was not available to them, and many employers offered domestic partner health benefits to opposite-sex domestic partner benefits to avoid any appearance of discrimination and to acknowledge widespread changes in living arrangements. Some of those employers are now wondering whether maintaining domestic partner benefits is desirable and, if so, whether there are design changes that should be considered.

Join Christine Williams, senior counsel at Perkins Coie LLP, as she reviews the current rules on health benefits for domestic partners, compares them to the rules on health benefits for same-sex spouses, and looks at what employers that previously offered domestic partner health benefits are doing in light of the legalization of same-sex marriage.


Just a sampling of what will be covered:

  • Is it permissible for an employer that has offered domestic partner health benefits in the past to change the rules and drop domestic partner benefits?
  • What laws and regulations come into play when an employer offers domestic partner health benefits?
  • May an employer adopt its own rules as to who qualifies as a domestic partner?
  • How is the taxability of domestic partner health benefits determined?
  • May domestic partners be covered under HSAs, HRAs, or health FSAs?
  • What documentation of domestic partner status be required by employers?
  • How are domestic partner health benefits treated under COBRA?
  • Are the reports of major employers dropping domestic partner health benefits accurate?


Your conference leader for “Domestic Partner Health Benefits in the Age of Same-Sex Marriage” is Christine Williams. Ms. Williams has worked in the employee benefits field since 1987, both in private practice and as in-house counsel to a Fortune 100 company, and recently founded, an online resource for benefit plan sponsors and employee benefit professionals. She has extensive experience with all types of health and welfare plans, and was the editor and a contributing author of HIPAA Portability, Privacy, & Security, published by the Employee Benefits Institute of America (EBIA), a division of Thomson Reuters, and is now a contributor to that publication. She was a contributing author of Health Care Reform for Employers and Advisors, also published by EBIA. She has provided advice on HIPAA, health care reform, and benefit plan compliance to a wide range of health plans, employers that sponsor health plans, and business associates, and she regularly teaches seminars for employee benefit professionals. Before moving into employee benefits, Ms. Williams was a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice and an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Law. She earned her J.D. degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law.


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