January 1, 2010

Q: Our company's health insurance plan offers only two classes of coverage: single coverage or family coverage. The "family" coverage is offered only to married couples. Also, there is a requirement that employees work 30 hours or more to qualify for coverage. We are considering expanding coverage for employees who are single parents and a few employees who are in a committed homosexual relationship. The employees would contribute most of the cost of coverage. Do you have any suggestions?

A: Employees living in a home with a married man and women now represent less than half of the households in the United States. Single parent households, unmarried couples, same sex couples and other arrangements are now the majority of employee  households, so it definitely makes sense to consider a more flexible health benefits offering.

All of the health insurance plans offered at MedSave.com are available to all applicants regardless of marital status or other personal factors. There is no requirement for the number of hours worked and there is no requirement that others covered be classified as "dependents". Also, consider that any of these insurance policies can be offered through the employer's flexible benefit plan and paid with pre-tax contributions to stretch your health plan dollars to the maximum benefit.

When modifying a health plan to include more liberal benefits, two steps are necessary: 1) modify the benefit document and the notices provided to employees, and 2) provide a resource where the employees can learn more about the offerings and get help selecting among the choices if necessary.

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