Senator Boxer Introduces Legislation to Extend Equal COBRA Benefits to LGBT Families
Bill ensures access to continued coverage of existing domestic partner health insurance
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today praised Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) for introducing the Equal Access to COBRA Act of 2010, which would equalize the benefits under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), guaranteeing continuation health coverage to any qualified beneficiary under an employer’s health insurance plan, including domestic partners and the children of domestic partners when employers choose to cover them.
Currently, COBRA mandates only that employees, their spouses and dependent children can continue their health coverage, usually at their own expense, after certain qualifying events, most commonly when the employee leaves or loses his or her job. This bill would ensure that other beneficiaries would have the equal ability to obtain continuation coverage, as well as the subsidies Congress has recently enacted to assist families with the cost of utilizing COBRA benefits.
“Same-sex couples are equally affected by economic hardships and should have equal access to important benefits like COBRA continuation coverage,” said Human Rights Campaign Joe Solmonese.
“Hundreds of employers, including more than half of the Fortune 500, already extend health benefits to the domestic partners of their employees as a matter of fairness as well as good business practice. In these troubled economic times, when many Americans are concerned about the security of their jobs and health insurance, LGBT people should not also have to worry whether the COBRA safety net will be there to help protect the health of their families. We applaud Senator Boxer’s leadership is seeking these important protections for our community.”