This post originally appeared at the Health Insurance Resource Center.
Consumers are now able to search for insurance plans offering domestic partner coverage on HealthCare.gov, the one-stop shop maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services for all things related to health care reform.
The web site, which was one of the consumer-friendly reforms required by the Affordable Care Act, includes a Health Plan Finder tool that allows consumers shopping for coverage to compare plan details such as cost sharing, enrollment, and benefit design in order to choose the option that best meets their needs. The new filter helps same-sex couples, many of whom do not have access to health insurance through their own or their partner’s employer, find plans in the non-group market that offer coverage for domestic partners.
Small businesses can also use the filter to search for coverage for their employees. According to a recent study, 51 percent of small businesses currently offer equal benefits to employees with same-sex partners or spouses, and 50 percent of those who do not say they would like to offer such benefits in the future. HealthCare.gov now links these employers with an easily searchable menu of options for providing the families of their gay employees with affordable coverage.
More employers should take note. The majority of Americans with private insurance receive coverage through their own or their spouse’s employer. Companies that do not extend benefits to the families of employees with same-sex spouses or partners are increasingly uncompetitive against companies with broad diversity policies and inclusive benefits packages. Fundamentally, policies that promote a diverse workforce are good for the bottom line: they maximize the talent in the hiring pool and help retain happier, healthier, and more productive employees. Read more