June 7, 2002

Benefits change prompts calls

Since the announcement of regents action at a May 16 meeting to extend certain retirement benefits to employees with same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partners, Human Resources has been receiving inquiries about whether or not health and welfare benefits will be offered to opposite-sex domestic partners, said Liz Hansen, benefits and insurance contracting manager.

Same-sex domestic partners are currently eligible to receive UC-sponsored medical, dental and vision benefits. "Unfortunately, the high estimated cost of providing health and welfare benefits to opposite-sex domestic partners prevents the university from making such a change at this time," Hansen said in a memo last week to the campus community.

While retirement benefits are funded by UCRP, additional health and welfare cost would have to be paid from current operating funds. This increased cost would create an immediate cash flow problem for UC locations, particularly at a time when the university faces a limited state budget and rapidly rising health care costs, Hansen said.

Based on the experience of other institutions and information from industry publications, the annual cost of providing UC-sponsored medical, dental and vision benefits to opposite-sex domestic partners and their eligible children is estimated to range from $16.7 million to $39.2 million, she said.

"The university remains committed to offering employees the most comprehensive array of benefits that budgetary circumstances allow," Hansen said, noting UC will continue to explore the possibility of adding these benefits at a future date.

For more information, call (530) 752-1774 or (530) 752-1765.

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Dateline UC Davis is the faculty and staff newspaper for the University of California, Davis.