“Obtaining the same benefits for domestic partners of public employees as for spouses is a major step in Nevada walking the walk and not just talking the talk of equality for domestic partners,” said Dane S. Claussen, executive director of the ACLU of Nevada. “The ACLU of Nevada and other organizations have been fighting for this for many years, and we’re thrilled that the PEBP Board decided last week to finally do it. We had been prepared to advocate for it again in the 2013 Nevada Legislature if the PEBP hadn’t acted first.”
The ACLU of Nevada was not involved in lobbying or testifying to the Public Employees’ Benefits Program Board. Leading the effort to persuade the PEBP board to extend the subsidy to domestic partners of public employees was Jim Richardson on behalf of the Nevada Faculty Alliance, and board member Jacque Ewing-Taylor. Richardson has long told the board that the lack of health insurance subsidies for domestic partners was making Nevada less competitive in being able to hire top personnel for its colleges and universities.
After last week’s decision, 28 couples who already have signed up for the coverage — about one-third opposite sex and two-thirds same sex — will see their monthly premium go from $611.91 to $198.40, a savings of $413.51.
PEBP Chief Operating Officer Jim Wells said the total cost of the new benefit are estimated, at most, at half a million dollars. The Public Employees Benefits Program currently has an undesignated surplus of about $29 million.