Domestic Partner Health Benefits


This practice note addresses issues related to an employer's provision of health benefits to an employee's domestic partner, where the employee and his or her domestic partner are not legally married. Domestic partner health benefits became popular primarily as a way to permit employees in same-sex relationships to obtain health benefits for their partners at a time when they could not marry. Since the Supreme Court's decisions in U.S. v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 744 (2013) and Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015), which established a nationwide right for same-sex couples to marry, the popularity of such policies has waned, but many employers continue to provide domestic partner health benefits and practitioners must understand the complexities of these arrangements.