January 25, 2012  
A New Law Requires Coverage for Domestic Partners for All California Residents Regardless of Where the Employer's Business is Sitused

Effective January 1, 2012, a new California insurance law (CA SB 757) expands the reach of the California Insurance Equality Act, a law which required insurance providers to provide the same coverage for registered domestic partners as for spouses.

The original law, which went into effect in January 2005, prohibited insurance providers from issuing policies or plans that treat registered domestic partners and spouses differently. The law did not apply to policies issued outside of California or to policies for employers whose principal place of business and majority of employees were located outside of California. This exception had permitted qualified out-of-state employers and out-of-state insurers to avoid the provisions of the California Insurance Equality Act requiring coverage of domestic partners in California.

The new law makes it clear that a plan or policy may not discriminate in coverage of any California employees between spouses or domestic partners of a different sex and spouse or domestic partner of the same sex, even if they work for an out of state employer or if the insurance policy is issued outside of California.

The new law clarifies that every policy or certificate of health insurance marketed, issued or delivered to a resident of the State of California, regardless of the situs of the contract or master group policyholder, shall not discriminate in coverage between spouses or domestic partners of a different sex and spouses or domestic partners of the same sex.

If you are an employer with employees working in the state of California (even if your operations are not based in California), you will want to review your medical, dental, vision and prescription drug policies to ensure compliance with this new law. If your plans that cover California employees do not currently cover domestic partners, please contact your carrier to have your policies updated for those employees working in California. Corporate Synergies will be able to assist clients with these tasks.

If you have any additional questions regarding the information within this eCommunication, please call Corporate Synergies at 1.866.CSG.1719 or CLICK HERE to contact us today.

Corporate Synergies is pleased to provide regular updates on issues affecting group benefits insurance. As an insurance broker and consultant, Corporate Synergies is proactive in monitoring federal and state legislative and regulatory activity to ensure that you stay informed. Our customers call us their "Dedicated Advocates." We work on your behalf.

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NOTE: This communication is in no way intended to substitute for legal advice. Please contact your attorney for advice about employment law issues.
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