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Kids of same-sex partners to get health coverage

Jul. 23, 2012 - 03:34PM   |  
By STEPHEN LOSEY   |   Comments

The Office of Personnel Management wants to extend health care coverage to the children of same-sex spouses and domestic partners of federal employees.

Those children would be defined as stepchildren under a newly proposed regulation, making them eligible for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program.

OPM published the regulation on July 20 in the Federal Register and is accepting comments until Sept. 18.

The federal government employs an estimated 34,000 gay and lesbian workers who are in domestic partnerships, but it is unknown how many of those domestic partners have children who would benefit from this change.

The change is the latest in a string of benefits extended to the families of gay and lesbian feds by the Obama administration.

In 2010, OPM allowed employees to add their same-sex partners to their long-term care policies, and made their partners and partners’ children eligible for child care subsidies and services, credit union membership and other forms of employee assistance.

But the new regulation would not cover feds’ same-sex spouses and partners, who will remain ineligible for federal health coverage. The Obama administration said it wants to extend FEHBP to gay feds’ spouses and partners, but is prevented from doing so by the Defense of Marriage Act.

Under the Affordable Care Act, gay and lesbian feds’ partners’ children would be eligible for FEHBP coverage until they turn 26, like all other feds’ children.

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