Excellent news. Illinois-based State Farm Insurance Cos. will soon extend all health and other insurance benefits to employees who are in a legally-recognized same sex relationship. Benefits will become available on June 1, the same day that civil unions will be recognized in the state, reports the Chicago Tribune.
The eligibility changes for the Bloomington-based insurer's group health and welfare plans affect all employees, retirees, agents and agent staff. They would be able to enroll a "legally recognized" same-sex spouse, civil union partner, or domestic partner in benefits for the first time, said State Farm spokesman Phil Supple.
State Farm has more than 68,000 employees, including 15,100 in [Bloomington-Normal]. ... State Farm was legally required to expand its eligibilities only partially, because it has a mixture of insurance plans that the new law did not affect uniformly. But the insurer decided "that to be equitable, all the insurance plans will be covered," Supple said. It already offers such benefits in states where they are legally required.
"State Farm, as an Illinois-based company, we are interpreting this law in a way that we feel is going to be fair and consistent for all of our associates," Supple said.
State Farm says it does "not" expect the claims expansion to "be a significant cost factor."
In January, Illinois became the sixth state to allow civil unions. Since then, Colorado, Delaware and Hawaii have passed similar legislation. Five states and the District of Columbia permit same-sex marriage.