The SHBP Domestic Partner Benefit
On July 10, 2004, The Domestic Partnership Act went into effect. This law provides for the extension of State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) benefits to same-sex domestic partners of State employees. This benefit will only apply to State employees enrolled in SHBP.
The Member and Spouse level of coverage will be used for an employee and domestic partner. The premium rate for Member and Spouse and Member and Domestic Partner will be the same. If the employee also has children enrolled for coverage, the Family level coverage will include the domestic partner at the same cost as if a spouse were covered.
The employee will be able to add a domestic partner’s children to SHBP, under the same conditions that an employee can now add stepchildren to coverage. In order to add a domestic partner’s children, employees will be required to complete an Affidavit of Dependency.
Enrollment of Domestic Partner
To add a domestic partner to SHBP coverage, the employee must provide a Certificate of Domestic Partnership issued by a New Jersey local registrar. Information related to the process may be found here: Registering a Domestic Partnership in New Jersey.
A copy of the Certificate of Domestic Partnership must be submitted along with the New Jersey State Health Benefits Program Application. The New Jersey State Health Benefits Program Application can be downloaded here.
Taxability of the Domestic Partner Benefit
The value of the employer health benefits provided to a domestic partner is normally subject to federal income taxes, Social Security, and Medicare taxes as imputed income. This means that the biweekly payroll tax calculation will be based on your gross biweekly pay plus the dollar value of the employer provided health insurance, (i.e., imputed income).
If the domestic partner meets the IRS definition of a dependent for tax purposes, the benefit will not be subject to federal taxes. In order to effect this exemption, you must file a tax certification with the Office of Human Resources. The tax certification is available at the Division of Pensions and Benefits website. The certificate must be updated annually.
Cost of Coverage for Domestic Partners
The cost for Member and Spouse and Member and Domestic Partner will be the same.
Cobra upon Termination
The federal COBRA law sets minimum standards which an employer can exceed. The SHBP considers a domestic partner as an eligible dependent for coverage and will include them in its COBRA program.
For more information, please see Fact Sheet #71 on the Division of Pensions and Benefits Website.
You may also email the Office of Human Resources at email@example.com.