Spectrum Health to offer same-sex partner benefits in 2015

Spectrum Health to offer same-sex partner benefits in 2015

16029666-largeGRAND RAPIDS, MI – Spectrum Health will begin providing insurance benefits to same-sex partners in 2015, hospital system officials said Tuesday, Oct. 7.

Spectrum leadership was notified last week of the new policy, which offers benefits for legally married gay couples and same-sex couples who can demonstrate they are in a committed relationship. The couples’ children also will be covered. The option is included in insurance enrollment packets that will be distributed this month to employees. The policies take effect in January.

“One of the things we pride ourselves on is being an inclusive and diverse employer,” said Roger Jansen, a senior vice president and the chief human resource officer at Spectrum. “It’s an important part of an inclusion and diversity strategy.”

Spectrum is the largest employer in Kent County with 22,400 staffers. The benefits policy involving same-gender partners covers all the hospitals in the health system, Jansen said.

Offering benefits to same-gender couples is important for employee recruitment and retention, he said: “A lot of other large systems already have had these types of benefits.”

“We think it’s the right thing to do to take care of our communities,” Jansen added. “We recognize diverse familial and home situations, and we want to make sure we take care of all the people we serve and that we employ.”

Same-sex couples who are not legally married can qualify for benefits by signing an affidavit and providing information to demonstrate they are in a committed relationship.

There has been “zero negative reaction,” to the new policy from employees, Jansen said. The response has been “very positive. We have received a number of thank-you letters.”

Sue Thoms covers health care for MLive/The Grand Rapids Press. Email her at sthoms1@mlive.com or follow her on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

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Content from: MLive

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