Health Insurance Stipend Program for Domestic Partners
On October 27, 2006, the University of North Florida Board of Trustees adopted the current Equal Opportunity and Diversity regulation in which the University stated that it prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. As an extension of that regulation and in accordance with its intent, the University is committed to providing eligible faculty and staff domestic partner benefits. University of North Florida employees who meet the eligibility requirements may participate in the Domestic Partnership Health Insurance Stipend Program to assist in defraying the cost of health insurance for a domestic partner. The amount of the stipend will be the lesser of: (1) the difference between the University’s contribution for “individual only” coverage in the plan selected by the employee and the University contribution for “family” coverage for that plan, or (2) the actual cost of the domestic partner’s own insurance coverage. The stipend may be adjusted when changes are made in the employee’s coverage selection. The stipend amount may also be adjusted at the sole discretion of the University based on availability of program funding. Employees on contracts and grants shall be eligible for the stipend, provided funding for this purpose is permitted and adequate funds are available by the terms of the contract or grant and the rules of the funding agency. The stipend will be paid to participating eligible UNF employees on a biweekly after-tax basis.
In order to be eligible for the domestic partnership health insurance stipend, the UNF employee must be in a budgeted position, have elected individual health insurance coverage through UNF, and both the employee and the domestic partner must complete a domestic partner certification, where each declares:
- They are each other’s sole domestic partner and intend to remain so indefinitely.
- They are the same sex.
- They are not legally married to another person.
- They are both 18 years or older and mentally competent to consent.
- They are not related by blood to a degree of closeness that would prohibit legal marriage in Florida.
- They would marry or establish a legally recognized domestic partnership if state laws permitted.
- They are jointly responsible for each other’s common welfare and share financial obligations.
- The non-employee domestic partner is not employed or is not eligible for health benefits through his or her employer.
- The non-employee domestic partner has health insurance in effect and shall apply to stipend to the cost of such insurance for any time during which the stipend is provided.
The UNF employee must submit documentation (such as a benefits booklet, letter from HR office or other documents) showing the employee’s domestic partner, if employed, is not provided health insurance coverage or is not eligible for coverage by the available plan provided by his or her employer. In addition, proof of domestic partner health insurance coverage and premium payment must be sent to HR on a bi-annual basis by February 15th and August 15th of each year.
Additionally, a copy of the domestic partner application approval letter must be submitted.
At UNF, benefit elections are treated with the highest degree of sensitivity. Information about employee participation in the Domestic Partnership Health Insurance Stipend Program will be subject to and maintained according to the same internal processes and protocols for all sensitive employee information.
Pursuant to IRS regulations, the amount of the cash stipend is taxable to the employee and subject to FICA and income tax withholding. It will be paid and taxed separately from regular pay. This payment will not count toward retirement, life insurance or any other benefits.
An employee who wishes to participate in the Domestic Partnership Health Insurance Stipend Program must submit the completed Domestic Partnership Health Insurance Stipend Enrollment Form and supporting documents to the Office of Human Resources.
If the complete documentation is received prior to the 15th of the month, payment of the stipend to the employee will be made on the first pay date of the following month.
Once the domestic partnership health insurance stipend is approved, the employee must submit documentation of the domestic partner’s health insurance coverage and premium payment to HR on a bi-annual basis. UNF may terminate the health insurance stipend if the employee does not provide proof of continued health insurance coverage for the domestic partner. Payments will not be retroactive; therefore, if a stipend payment is not made for any time period due to lack of documentation, the stipend is forfeited for that period.
If the domestic partner becomes eligible for insurance coverage through his or her employer, the employee must immediately notify HR in writing of the effective date and he or she will no longer be eligible to receive the stipend as of that date.
Employees may enroll in the stipend program during each annual open enrollment period or as a result of a Qualifying Status Change (QSC).
Termination of Domestic Partnership Stipend Eligibility
An employee receiving the domestic partnership health insurance stipend shall notify HR immediately, but no later than 30 days, upon one of the following conditions via completion and submission of the Termination of Domestic Partnership Stipend Eligibility form to HR: (1) termination of the domestic partnership for which participation has been approved;( 2) the domestic partner becoming eligible for health insurance through his or her employer; or (3) death of the domestic partner. The employee must wait 12 months from the date of termination of a domestic partnership before applying for another domestic partnership health insurance stipend, unless the employee is registering the same domestic partnership, by completing another Domestic Partnership Declaration form.
An employee who knowingly makes false statements about satisfying the eligibility criteria or fails to notify Human Resources of a change in domestic partnership status may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including discharge. UNF reserves the right to modify or discontinue this program at any time at its discretion, with or without advance notice.
Any stipend received after eligibility has terminated, or should have terminated, must be repaid to UNF. This may be deducted from future pay.