|Copyright: ||(c) 2011 A.M. Best Company, Inc.|
|Source: ||A.M. Best Company, Inc.|
State Farm is extending health care and other benefits to same-sex partners for its employees, retirees, agents, and agency staff members in legally recognized relationships.
State Farm, which currently offers such benefits to employees in 10 jurisdictions, is expanding the programs in all its health plans nationwide effective June 1, spokesman Phil Supple said.
Based on its experience in those 10 jurisdictions, State Farm doesn't anticipate the cost will be significant, Supple said.
The catalyst is a change in the law in Illinois, where State Farm is based, that extends benefits to partners in civil unions. While two of State Farm's plans would fall under the new law, Supple said to be "fair and consistent" the insurer decided to extend the benefits to all plans and its employees, retirees, agents and team members nationwide. The company has some 68,000 employees and 18,000 agents.
The benefits include medical, dental, vision, life, long-term care and accidental death and dismemberment. Employees, retirees, agents and their staffs must be in legally recognized relationships; different states use different language, including, for example, civil unions, same-sex marriage and domestic partners.
Allstate Corp. offers benefits to same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partners under certain conditions that include that the couple be in an exclusive committed relationship, that each is responsible for the other's welfare and financial obligations, the couple shares and maintains the same primary residence, and that the partners be at least 18 years old and not married to or separated from another. The benefits, including medical, dental, vision, long-term care, flexible-spending accounts, and others, are available to all Allstate employees, and agents can get coverage through National Health Access, according to Allstate spokesman Raleigh Floyd.
State Farm Group currently has a Best's Financial Strength Rating of A++ (Superior), and the Allstate Insurance Group currently has a Best's Financial Strength Rating of A+ (Superior).
(By Diana Rosenberg, senior associate editor, BestWeek)