Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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Some employers offer health insurance to same sex couples

Yes, employers may choose to offer health insurance to same sex couples. However, they are not required to offer coverage to same sex couples.

In fact, private employers are not required to provide health insurance benefits at all- not even for their own employees. If they choose to offer health insurance, they just need to make sure to comply with all laws (state and federal).

To obtain health insurance quotes now enter your zip code into the box!

What do statistics show about health care and same sex couples?

More often than not same sex couples are unable to receive coverage from their partner’s employer health insurance benefit.

It was recently found in a study done in California that, compared to heterosexual men, partnered gay men are only 42% as likely to receive employer health insurance from their dependent’s employer.

Further, a study completed in 2009 found that only 10,000 companies offered health insurance to partners in same sex couples. Nearly 8,500 of those companies were based in the private sector, meaning that very few organizations in the public sector are yet to offer health insurance to partners in same sex relationships. However, 270 of those companies were Fortune 500 companies, which shows somewhat of an increasing trend.

For the most part, this is still a benefit that is not typically given as an option to employees. Employers are legally allowed to offer health insurance to same sex couples, although many ask for signed affidavits or notaries to be turned in lieu of a marriage certificate.

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How can an employer offer health insurance benefits to same sex couples?

There are a few ways that employers can choose to offer (or to not offer) benefits which recognize same sex partnerships. The first is often referred to as “no cost” benefits; this simply means that while the employer does not offer health insurance for a same sex partner, they do offer the option for the employee to use sick leave (another form of benefits) to care for their partner.

The irony in this, however, is that the same sex partner may be sick because they do not have proper health insurance.

The next way an employer can provide benefits to same sex couples is to offer full or partial health insurance coverage to same sex partnerships. There are some downsides to this option, as not all benefits were created equal.

Unlike benefits for married couples, benefits for same sex couples (or their partners) are subject to federal income taxation as well as state income taxation. The IRS does not recognize health benefits as being excludable from income taxes unless they are a legal dependent or legal spouse.

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So how do I know whether my partner is able to receive full or partial benefits?

Your company will outline a policy with what they offer (if they offer anything). Here are some different types of health insurance plans that you may or may not see available to your partner.

If your company utilizes more traditional health care plans, you may have the option for either basic medical insurance or major medical insurance. Basic medical insurance will provide coverage for hospital, surgery or other medically necessary visits. This type of insurance does not utilize preventative care, so routine checkups are not covered. Major medical coverage takes a step further to cover continuing illnesses and additional procedures.

More than likely your company utilizes some type of managed care plan. These are the terms our society has grown familiar with, although often times don’t know what they entail: PPO (Preferred Provider Organization), HMO (Health Maintenance Organization), and POS (Point of Service).

The first is PPO and in this type of managed care plan, the insurance company contracts with providers to cut down costs and speed up payments. This is the type of health insurance that your partner will need to pay special attention to varying differences in co-pays between in-network and out-of-network providers. Compare insurance rates using a free online tool.

Instead of co-pays and more choices of which doctors can be seen, HMOs have a monthly fee and a list of doctors that are allowable under the insurance plan. Also, this type of insurance requires a primary care physician (PCP) in which they will first need to seek a referral from before going to a specialist.

Finally, the Point of Service plans combines the benefits of a PPO and HMO. Just like it sounds, you may pick at the point of service whether you want to go out-of-network and pay additional co-pays or if you want to stick with your PCP to obtain a referral and stay within the approved network of doctors.

It’s important to know that employers do not have to offer insurance to same sex couples, but if they do, it’s even more important to understand what type of insurance is available and what the coverage means.

To make sure you understand the different options of health insurance options and what is legally required to be offer, continue browsing this website for additional articles and information on a wide variety of health insurance topics. Or just use the tool above to receive quick estimates on private coverage.

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