Guest erisafried Posted March 5, 2005 Report Share Posted March 5, 2005 Just entertained a question from a large church organization about the effects of the new California law AB2208 (insurers and HMOs must offer coverage to registered domestic partners on non-discriminatory terms if they offer any spousal coverage at all). The church is trying to determine whether AB2208 will require its self-funded health plan to offer benefits to domestic partners. As a self-funded plan, you might intially think that ERISA's "deemer" clause (i.e., self-funded plans are not deemed to be insurance for purposes of state regulation) would preclude the application of AB2208. However, unless the plan at issue is an electing church plan, ERISA doesn't apply, so no deemer clause. This means that you get dumped back into the state insurance regulatory system. Further, the Church Plan Parity and Entanglement Prevention Act of 1999 indicates that state insurance laws are applied to church welfare plans as if they were insurers licensed by the state. A literal application of these rules means that church plans, whether insured or self-funded, are now required to offer coverage to registered domestic partners if they offer spousal coverage. Without debating the merits of the position, many churches have strong objections to this sort of thing. Then again, the California Supreme Court ruled last year that a non-profit entity affiliated with the Catholic Church had to provide contraceptive benefits through its health plan. Anyone have any thoughts about this? Have you fought any battles on this topic yet? Thanks! Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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