STATE EMPLOYEES
RETIREMENT COMMISSION
COMPTROLLER'S SEAL STATE OF CONNECTICUT 55 ELM STREET
HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT
06106-1775
TELEPHONE: (860) 702-3480
TELEFAX:(860) 702-3489
MEDICAL EXAMINING BOARD
for DISABILITY RETIREMENT
HEALTH CARE COST
CONTAINMENT COMMITTEE
STATE OF CONNECTICUT
RETIREMENT AND BENEFIT SERVICES DIVISION
OFFICE OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER

RETIREMENT & BENEFIT SERVICES DIVISION MEMORANDUM

November 26, 2008

TO THE HEADS OF ALL STATE AGENCIES

ATTENTION: All Human Resources and Benefit Officers
SUBJECT: Domestic Partner Benefits

As you are aware, same sex domestic partners and eligible dependent children of the domestic partner are currently eligible for coverage under the State's pension and health benefit plan.

The domestic partner benefit was established through binding arbitration in which the arbitrator adopted a SEBAC (a coalition of unions representing a majority of State bargaining unit employees) proposal allowing benefit eligibility to couples "who are unable to marry in Connecticut because Connecticut's marriage provisions distinguish between same-sex and opposite-sex couples." A copy of this arbitration award can be found on the Comptroller's website at: http://www.osc.state.ct.us/empret/.

The arbitrator's award terminates same-sex partners' eligibility for domestic partner benefits as of the date same sex couples become eligible to marry in Connecticut. The award also holds that domestic partners and eligible dependent children of the domestic partner on the State's pension and health benefit plan will have these benefits cease one year after same sex marriages are allowed by the State of Connecticut. As you are aware, effective November 12, 2008, same sex partners can obtain marriage licenses in Connecticut. Accordingly, under the terms of the arbitrator's award, and effective November 13, 2008, the State will no longer recognize "new" domestic partnerships for benefit purposes.

For those individuals currently in a domestic partnership relationship, the health (including medical, prescription and dental) and pension benefits (including pre-retirement benefits and spousal waivers) currently provided to partners and the eligible dependents of the domestic partner will end effective November 30, 2009 unless the partners marry or enter into a civil union prior to this date. For partners who do not marry, enrolled domestic partners and their dependent children will be deemed qualified beneficiaries and COBRA continuation benefits will be extended to the domestic partner of the employee or retiree after November 30 2009. In sum:


1. For new employees hired after November 12, 2008 and for current employees who as of November 13, 2008, had not yet filed Domestic Partnership Affidavit (CO-1049), the State will no longer provide health care or pension coverage for same sex domestic partners and the eligible dependent children of the domestic partner. In order to receive or be eligible for health care or pension coverage, the partners must enter into a civil union or marriage.

2. For current employees who have filed Domestic Partnership Affidavits (CO-1049) with the State, the State will continue to provide health care and pension coverage for same sex domestic partners and eligible dependent children until November 30, 2009.

3. For current domestic partners who do not marry or enter into a civil union by November 13, 2009, enrolled domestic partners and their eligible dependent children will be deemed qualified beneficiaries and COBRA continuation benefits will be extended to the domestic partner and eligible dependent children of an employee.

4. For current employees with a domestic partner enrolled in health insurance who marry or enter into a civil union by November 13, 2009, the following enrollment procedures should be followed. Where the parties enter into a civil union or marriage, the employee or retiree will be accorded thirty days from that date to obtain medical and dental coverage for his or spouse or civil union partner and eligible dependent children. If the employee or retiree fails to enroll these individuals within this thirty day period, they will be required to wait until the annual health insurance open enrollment period in order to do so. Employees seeking to add medical and dental coverage for their spouses, civil union partners and dependent children should be instructed to submit the same documentation to their employing agency that is required of opposite sex married employees. For federal income tax purposes, if the employee provides more than fifty percent of a civil union partner's or spouse's financial support, the employee should also provide a signed statement to their employing agency stating that fact.

The employing agency, not the employee, is required to submit a representation from the agency as to the employee's intent regarding health insurance coverage along with a copy of the above mentioned documents to:
 

Office of the State Comptroller
Retirement & Benefit Services Division
55 Elm Street - 2nd Floor
Hartford, CT 06106-1775
Attention: Central Benefits Unit

 
Upon receipt of these materials, the Division will process the change to the employee's records in Core-CT associated with health care coverage for spouses and civil union partners and will notify the agency of such action. Agencies may direct questions concerning these changes to (860) 702-3535.
 
5. Retired Employees with a domestic partner enrolled in health insurance should be instructed to contact the Retirement Health Insurance Unit at 860 702-3533.
 
6. With regard to retirement and pension benefits, for current employees with a domestic partner who marry or enter into a civil union by November 13, 2009 the employee should fill in a new CO-931 form to entitle the civil union partner or spouse to pre-retirement death benefits (where applicable) and survivorship protections.
 
7. With regard to retirement and pension benefits for current domestic partners who do not marry or enter into a civil union by November 13, 2009 - the domestic partner can remain the employee's beneficiary for retirement purposes but the domestic partner will not be treated by the Division as a spouse for purposes of pension benefits at the time of the employee's retirement which means the employee will have the right to change beneficiary prior to retirement, choose whatever payment option the employee wishes to chose and there will be no pre-retirement and/or spousal benefits available to the domestic partner.

The Division is available to assist you in addressing issues raised by this memorandum, as well as responding to questions posed by employees. Additional information will be forthcoming and posted on the Comptroller's website.

Very truly yours,

NANCY WYMAN, STATE COMPTROLLER

BY:
Thomas C. Woodruff, Ph.D., Director
Retirement & Benefit Services Division

TCW/HMK/hk

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