This morning, thanks to over a year of advocacy by Family Equality Council, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM, the government agency regulating federal employment) proposed one landmark rule and finalized three more, all benefiting LGBT families.
The proposed rule would extend health, dental, and vision insurance to the children of federal employee’s same-sex domestic partners. With the expansion of coverage under the Affordable Care Act, this newly proposed rule means that all federal employees’ children up to age 26 are covered, regardless of their marital status, dependency, residency, student status, lack of insurance coverage and now – due to the OPM rule change – their lack of a legal relationship to their parent.
We know that the children of LGBT parents are less likely to be insured by their parents’ health insurance, particularly when children live in a state where they are unable to create a legal relationship to the parent whose employer is offering the insurance. This new rule, along with the extensions of coverage under the Affordable Care Act, will help thousands of children access necessary care.
OPM also issued a final rule this morning making it easier for the same-sex partner of a federal employee to be the beneficiary of the employee’s life insurance. By adding a class of “domestic partners,” this rule eases the burden of proving that an employee’s same-sex partner is entitled to an interest in the employee’s insurance. Easing this burden makes sure that same-sex partners don’t have to jump through more hoops than other employees and their spouses in times of crisis.
Three other final rules benefiting LGBT families were also published today by OPM. Family Equality Council provided guidance and feedback on these important changes as well. Child-care subsidies for low-income federal employees are now available to the children of LGBT parents; federal employees at Johnston Island Naval Base, their same-sex partners, and their children will now be eligible for the same evacuation pay and maintenance allowance granted to opposite-sex spouses and their children; and federal employee’s same-sex domestic partners will now be treated as family members in their eligibility for noncompetitive overseas employment.
We applaud OPM and the Obama Administration for all the work they’ve done to ensure LGBT parents and their children have increased access to federal programs, benefits, and services!
Edited at 3:40 on 7/20 to reflect that the life insurance rule is a final rule, not a proposed rule.