The RF extends health, dental, and vision care coverage to domestic partners of Research Foundation employees. To determine if your domestic partner would qualify for enrollment carefully read the information listed below.
A covered employee or postdoctoral fellow may include a domestic partner under family coverage provided that the domestic partner is:
- the employee's partner,
- age 18 or older,
- unmarried and not related by marriage or blood in any way that would bar marriage,
- residing with the employee,
- financially interdependent with the employee, and
- involved in the domestic partnership for a period of one year or more, and
- you complete the Benefit Plan Affidavit of Domestic Partnership, Affidavit of Financial Interdependency and RF Health Insurance Enrollment Form
The affidavits and documents you are required to submit are only intended to establish the eligibility of your domestic partner for benefits available to you as a Research Foundation employee. However, it is recommended that you seek advice from your attorney regarding any possible legal and financial implications before you take the actions required to provide this benefit coverage to a domestic partner.
Persons who live together for economic reasons, but who have not made a commitment to an exclusive, enduring domestic partnership as described in these documents will not be considered domestic partners for the purpose of enrollment in the Research Foundation benefit programs. Enrollees legally married to a same-sex spouse in jurisdictions where such marriage is legal may cover their spouse as well. However, due to IRS regulations, such persons are still considered domestic partners for RF benefit/taxation purposes.
Please be advised that submission of the health insurance enrollment form and substantiating documents does not guarantee enrollment in the health, dental or vision care plans. Applications filed without the required affidavits and substantiating documentation will not be processed.
Children of Domestic Partners
You may provide coverage for your domestic partner's child (or children) only if:
- the child meets the dependent eligibility requirements,
- resides in the employee's household (except during periods while attending college as a full-time student), and
- receives 51 percent or more of their support from the employee, and
- you complete the Statement of Dependence of Domestic Partner's Child for Participation in the RF Health Insurance Plan form in addition to the RF Employee Health Insurance Enrollment Form
Pretax or After-Tax Biweekly Deductions
IRS regulations do not allow tax-exempt status for domestic partner benefits, unless the domestic partner is a dependent under IRS rules. Premiums for family coverage that includes a domestic partner, who is not a dependent, will be paid on an after-tax basis. The portion of the premium for individual coverage can remain on a pretax basis.
Domestic Partner Coverage as Taxable Income
Graduate Student Employees
Under Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules, if a domestic partner of a graduate student employee is not a "dependent" within the meaning of Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code, the "fair market value" of the partner's health coverage, less any contribution for dependent coverage by the enrollee, is considered taxable (imputed) income for the employee. The fair market value of RF benefits equals the gross individual premium for the benefits (RF share and employee share) less the employee's contribution for dependent coverage.
Deductions for income tax and FICA contributions on the employee's paycheck and W-2 will be adjusted to reflect this higher income level.
If your domestic partner qualifies as a dependent under IRC 152, the imputed income will not be added to your salary. If you qualify for this tax advantage (and only if you qualify), you must complete the Dependent Tax Affidavit for Enrolling Domestic Partner in the Benefits Program, in addition to the forms noted above. It is recommended that employees seek the advice of an attorney prior to completing this affidavit.
IRS rules on imputed income generated from employer-based benefits do not apply to fellows, because a fellow's premium is paid on an after-tax basis.
When Coverage Begins
If you are enrolled in the Research Foundation benefit plans, have satisfied the one year residency and financial requirements, or you are legally married to your same-sex spouse, and have submitted all required documentation to Benefits Office at (631) 632-6180, within 60 days of your partner's eligibility date, coverage for your partner begins on the date of eligibility. Unless you are legally married, your partner's date of eligibility is the day that is exactly one year later than the latest date on the supporting documents submitted with your application for coverage.
If you apply beyond 60 days of eligibility, coverage for your partner will begin on the first day of the fifth payroll period following the payroll period in which you apply.
If you are not enrolled in the Research Foundation benefit plans, coverage for both you and your partner may be deferred until you satisfy the new employee or late enrollment waiting period. Contact the Benefits Office at (631) 63 2-6180 concerning the eligibility requirements.
When Coverage Ends
Coverage for your partner will end on the day on which you and/or your partner no longer meet one or more of the requirements on the two affidavits you both have signed, or on the date that your marriage has been formally terminated. The terms and conditions of your coverage require you to report this relationship termination, to the Student Employee Benefits Office, within 14 days of its occurrence.
How to Report That a Domestic Partnership or Same-Sex Marriage Has Ended
Within 14 days of the date the domestic partnership or same-sex marriage ends, you must complete and submit the Termination of Domestic Partnership form (this form applies to domestic partnerships and same-sex marriages).
Failure to file the form on a timely basis may have serious negative consequences for you and your partner/spouse. You may be liable for claims paid for your former partner/spouse for medical services rendered on and after the date the partnership/marriage ended. You may not enroll another domestic partner or re-enroll the same domestic partner until two years after the date the Termination of Domestic Partnership form is filed with the Student Employee Benefits Office.
This waiting period is waived in the case of a subsequent same-sex marriage. Your former partner/spouse's 60-day eligibility period for applying for COBRA continuation coverage starts on the date of relationship termination, not the notification date.