Effective June 1, 2011, in accordance with Public Act 96-1513, members will be permitted to add a civil union partner and/or their children to their coverage. Below are some FAQs regarding the coverage and the associated benefits and options.
- When does the civil union law become effective?
The civil union law (PA 96-1513) becomes effective June 1, 2011. Therefore, first day to apply for an Illinois Civil Union Partnership Certificate is June 1, 2011.
- Are civil unions limited to same-sex partners?
No. Both same-sex and opposite-sex partners can be a civil union partner.
- When can a civil union partner be added to LGHP coverage?
The issuance of the civil union partnership certificate is a qualifying change in status event; therefore, members interested in adding a civil union partner will have 60 days from the event to request that their civil union partner be added to their coverage. Coverage would be effective the later of the date the request for change was signed or the date the civil union partnership certificate was issued.
- Can a civil union partner be added to the LGHP coverage using a certificate from another state? If so, when would the coverage be effective?
Yes, civil union partnership certificates received from another state are valid documentation to add a civil union partner and/or his/her children to the member’s group insurance coverage. June 1, 2011, the effective date of the law, begins a 60-day qualifying change in status enrollment period for those members who have a valid Civil Union Partnership Certificate from another state. Therefore, the first day the coverage can be effective is June 1, 2011, if requested on or before that date. States currently allowing Civil Union Partnerships are:
Can I add my same-sex spouse if I was married in a State that allows a same-sex marriage?
- New Jersey (same-sex civil unions only)
- Delaware (effective January 1, 2012 for same-sex civil unions only)
- Hawaii (effective January 1, 2012 for both same-sex and opposite-sex civil unions)
- Vermont (effective July 1, 2000 through August 31, 2009)
- Connecticut (effective October 1, 2005 through September 30, 2010)
- Rhode Island (effective July 2, 2011 for same-sex civil unions only)
Yes, valid same-sex marriage certificates from states which allow it will be sufficient documentation to add the same-sex spouse to group insurance coverage. States currently allowing same-sex marriages are:
I have a Certification of Domestic Partnership from another state. Will this document be sufficient documentation to add my partner and his/her children?
- Massachusetts (effective May 17, 2004)
- Iowa (effective April 3, 2009)
- New Hampshire (Civil unions allowed January 1, 2008 through December 1, 2009. Civil unions merged into marriages January 1, 2010)
- Vermont (effective September 1, 2009)
- Connecticut (Civil unions allowed October 1, 2005 through September 30, 2010. Civil unions merged into marriages October 1, 2010)
- District of Columbia (effective March 3, 2010)
- California (effective between May 15, 2008 and November 4, 2008)
- Coquille Indian Tribe, Oregon (effective May 20, 2009)
- New York (effective July 24, 2011)
Certain states do not allow civil unions or same-sex marriages; however, they do have domestic partner statutes which provide the same rights and responsibilities as spouses, similar to civil union partnerships in Illinois. If you have a Certificate of Domestic Partnership from any of the following states, you may add your partner and his/her children to your group insurance coverage:
Can civil union partners be added to a member’s LGHP coverage during the FY 2012 Benefit Choice Period?
No, civil union partners cannot be added during the FY 2012 Benefit Choice Period; however, the civil union partnership becoming legal is considered a qualifying change in status, which allows members a 60-day enrollment period to add the partner and/or the partner’s children. Coverage will be effective the date of the request or the issue date of the civil union partnership certificate, whichever is later.
Can children of a civil union partner be added to LGHP coverage?
Yes, the civil union partner’s children can be added to the member’s LGHP coverage as long as the children meet the eligibility criteria of a dependent. The children may be added regardless of whether or not the civil union partner is covered by the LGHP.
What documentation is needed to add a civil union partner and/or his/her children?
Members will be required to submit a copy of the Civil Union Partnership Certificate to their health plan representative (HPR) at the time they request to add their civil union partner and/or their partner’s children. A dependent enrollment form must be completed for each dependent and must include the dependent’s social security number. Members who are requesting to add their partner’s children to their coverage must also submit the children’s birth certificates. A copy of your IRS tax return is required if you are requesting to add your partner and/or his/her children as an IRS dependent.
If a civil union partner is a non-IRS dependent how does this affect premiums?
Q: A member is currently enrolled in the Local Care Health Plan with his/her two ‘natural children’ dependents. What will be the impact on the LGHP insurance premium if the member adds a civil union partner and his/her two children who are not eligible to be tax dependents?
A: A member with two IRS dependents is currently in the ‘Employee + 2 or more dependents’ rate category on a pretax basis for the two ‘natural children’. The member adds three non-IRS dependents (civil union partner and two civil union children). The member should pay taxes on the portion of the premium which applies to the civil union partner and the two civil union children.
|Member + 2 or more dependents
$1,000 divided by 6 participants = $166.66 per participant
If the civil union partner and/or their children qualify as IRS tax dependents how does this affect the premium?
Civil union partner and two civil union children (non-IRS dependents)
$166.66 X 3 = $499.98 - member should pay taxes on this amount
The premiums for a civil union partner who is considered an IRS tax dependent and the premiums for the partner’s children, who are considered IRS tax dependents, will be the same as the premiums for any other tax dependent and should be deducted on a pretax basis.
A civil union partner and/or their children may qualify as the member’s tax dependent under the Internal Revenue Code Section 152(a), only if:
- For the entire calendar year, he or she lives with the member as a resident of the household the member maintains and occupies, and
- During the calendar year, the member provides more than half of his or her total support, and
- The civil union partner earned less than the allowable exemption amount (consult a tax advisor to determine the allowable exemption amount), and
- Cannot be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer.
Q: A member is currently enrolled in the Local Care Health Plan with two 'natural children' dependents. What will be the impact on the LGHP insurance premium if the member adds a civil union partner and his/her two children who are eligible to be tax dependents?
A: A member with two IRS dependents is in the "Employee + 2 or more dependents" rate category on a pretax basis for the two 'natural children'. The member adds three additional IRS dependents. The LGHP will not charge any additional premium since the member is already in the ‘Employee + 2 or more dependent’ rate category for the other IRS dependents.
If a civil union partnership is dissolved, can the civil union partner and their children stay on the LGHP coverage?
|Employee + 2 or more dependents
|IRS Civil Union Partner and his/her children
No. Coverage for the civil union partner and any children of the partner who are covered under the LGHP will end at midnight on the day prior to the circuit clerk file stamp on the dissolution of the partnership. These dependents may be offered COBRA.
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