Civil union partner benefit coverage

On June 1, the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act will take effect, allowing same gender and heterosexual couples to enter into civil unions.

Under this new law, Fermilab employees will be able to add coverage for their civil union partners through the laboratory’s medical and dental plans.

Although the Illinois legislation provides certain benefits and protections, it will not have an impact on the federal tax rules. When coverage is added for a civil union partner and the partner does not meet the federal tax definition of a dependent the value of the coverage will be taxed. Healthcare expenses for civil union partners will not be eligible for reimbursement under the Flexible Spending Account as this feature provides reimbursement for expenses in accordance with IRS regulations.

Under Fermilab’s current benefit plans, entering into a civil union partnership is considered a status change. Status changes provide an opportunity to review and change your benefit elections and beneficiary designations. You may review the plan rules for status changes on the Benefits Web site.

Civil union partners can also be covered under Fermilab’s life insurance coverage. You can obtain information on life insurance coverage from the Benefits Office.

Enrollment materials, imputed income cost sheets and additional information on how the Illinois legislation affects your benefits can be found on the Benefits Web site.

Mary Todd, Benefits Office