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 I add my civil union partner to my group insurance coverage?
The issuance of the civil union partnership certificate is a qualifying change in status event; therefore, individuals interested in adding a civil union partner will have 31 days from the event to request that their civil union partner be added to their coverage. Coverage would be effective the first day of the month following the date of the request.
- Can I add my civil union partner to my group insurance coverage if we received 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:
- 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)
- Can I add my same-sex spouse if I was married in a state that allows a same-sex marriage?
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:
- 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)
- I have a Certification of Domestic Partnership from another state. Will this document be sufficient documentation to add my partner and his/her children?
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 I request to add my civil union partner to my group insurance 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 31-day enrollment period to add the partner and/or the partner’s children. Coverage will be effective the first day of the month following the date of the request.
- Can I add the children of my civil union partner to my group insurance coverage?
Yes, the civil union partner’s children can be added to the member’s group insurance 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 Program.
- What documentation is needed to add my civil union partner and/or his/her children?
Members will be required to submit a copy of the Civil Union Partnership Certificate to the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), along with the TRIP Enrollment form, at the time they request to add their civil union partner and/or their partner’s children. Members who are requesting to add their partner’s children to their coverage must also submit a birth certificate for each child. Social security numbers are required for all dependents for which the member is requesting coverage.
- If my civil union partnership is dissolved, can I keep my civil union partner and their children on my group insurance coverage?
No. Coverage for the civil union partner and any children of the partner who are covered under the Program will end at midnight on the day prior to the circuit clerk file stamp on the dissolution of the partnership. These dependents will be offered COBRA.