CARSON CITY — Regulations that would move the state health insurance plan toward offering benefits to domestic partners, including those of the same sex, saw little comment at a meeting Thursday.
The rules were discussed briefly at a workshop during a meeting of the board of the Public Employees’ Benefits Program. They are expected to be finalized by the panel in May.
They would have to win approval from the Legislative Commission, a panel of lawmakers that reviews proposed state regulations to ensure they conform with legislative intent, before they could take effect.
But it will be up to Gov. Jim Gibbons and the Legislature to decide whether to pay the estimated $3 million cost to extend health insurance benefits.
Without funding appropriated by the 2009 Legislature to subsidize the expansion of the health insurance to domestic partners, the expansion will not take place, said Leslie Johnstone, executive officer of the benefits program.
If funding is approved, the expansion would take effect starting July 1, 2009.
The hearing on the proposed regulations provoked no public comment.
The $3 million estimated cost over the 2009-2011 budget would provide the same subsidy that is given to state workers to cover partially the health insurance premium costs of spouses and children.
In the current low-deductible plan in the benefits program, the state pays a subsidy of $989.43 to cover the cost of health insurance for an employee and spouse. The employee pays $182.48 for the coverage.
The original request to include domestic partners in the state health plan came from the Nevada System of Higher Education.
University and college presidents told the board in June that extending benefits to partners is essential to their ability to recruit top professors and administrators.