Mecklenburg Approves Domestic Partner Benefits
Special Report - December 18, 2009
At its board meeting earlier this week, the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners approved a controversial policy to extend health insurance benefits to the same-sex partners of homosexual county employees beginning in 2011. With the 6 to 3 vote by county commissioners on December 15, Mecklenburg County joins only a handful of counties, cities, and towns in North Carolina that offer domestic partnership benefits (Orange and Durham counties, Durham, Greensboro, Chapel Hill and Carrboro). Unlike most of these jurisdictions that offer domestic partner benefits to both opposite sex and same-sex unmarried couples, Mecklenburg County’s plan does not include coverage for unmarried heterosexual couples, only the same-sex partners of county employees. According to press reports, the board-approved policy defines domestic partners as same-sex couples who live together, are financially interdependent, and are not married to someone else . Employees will be able to sign up for the benefits during the county health plan’s open enrollment in Fall 2010, with the coverage beginning in 2011.
Before the vote, the board heard from the county’s human resources director, Chris Peek, who estimated that about one percent of county employees would sign up for the domestic partner benefit coverage, and projected an annual cost for the county of about $400,000 a year.
Copyright © 2009. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.