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DART opens door for same-sex partner heath care coverage

An employer in Dallas has made a change to its policies regarding health care coverage that will allow employees who are in long-term same-sex partnerships to get coverage for their partner.

The employer in question is Dallas Area Rapid Transit. DART's board voted on the change last week and approved it 10-3. The change will make it so DART employees can obtain heath care coverage for one adult they are unrelated to who has lived with them for a year or more. One restriction regarding this coverage extension is that the unrelated adult is not eligible for the coverage if they are eligible to receive coverage from the government or another employer.

The coverage policy change will take effect in January.

Health care coverage policies like the new one that DART is putting into effect are not something that all employers have. There are some employers that do not provide employees who are in sex-sex partnerships with a way to extend health care coverage to their partner.

This reflects a larger problem that long-term same-sex couples here in Texas face: the fact that many of the benefits and legal mechanisms that are available to married couples are not available to them. This can make it so same-sex couples can face some very complex issues, financial and otherwise, when they are in long-term relationships or when they are dissolving such relationships. If a person is facing such issues, they should consider speaking with a family law attorney with experience in matters involving same-sex couples.

Source: The Dallas Morning News, "DART extends benefits to unmarried workers' domestic partners," Brandon Formby, Oct. 8, 2013

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