By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff
The majority of employers (63 percent) offering health insurance to opposite sex spouses also offered coverage to same-sex spouses, according to a recent analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation. This is up from 43 percent in 2016. Kaiser examined the 2018 Employer Health Benefits Survey to examine employer-sponsored health insurance coverage trends for same-sex spouses, and found that most same-sex spouses (88 percent) now have access to employer-sponsored insurance.
Kaiser found that the likelihood of employers offering both opposite sex spousal coverage and same-sex spousal coverage increased with firm size. Large firms (those with 200 or more employees) were more likely to offer coverage to same-sex spouses compared to smaller firms (87 percent vs 62 percent). In addition, 87 percent of large firms with opposite-sex spousal coverage offered such coverage, 9 percent did not, and 4 percent reported they had not encountered this benefits issue. Among the largest firms (those with more than 1,000 workers), 93 percent offered coverage to same-sex couples. By contrast, just 62 percent of small employers (3-199 workers) offered coverage to same-sex spouses. Six percent did not and 32 percent said they had not encountered it.
Domestic partner benefits. When same-sex marriage was legalized, some believed that the recognition of same-sex marriage would diminish domestic partnership benefits. However, Kaiser did not find any statistical difference between the share of large firms offering same-sex domestic partner health coverage in 2018 compared to 2012, among large firms offering health benefits. Further, almost all (96 percent) large firms offering same-sex domestic partner health benefits also offered same-sex spousal benefits; 66 percent of large firms offering same-sex spousal coverage offer same-sex domestic partner coverage.
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