illinois civil unions insurance benefits | Chicago Illinois Family Law Blog
This post marks the conclusion of our blog series that discussed the new benefits given to civil union spouses under Illinois’ new civil union law. We have covered health insurance, workers’ comp, life insurance, auto and homeowners’ policies, and more in relation to civil union spouses. Our last topic covers pension fund benefits.
Are spouses in a civil union entitled to survivor benefits under pension funds for police officers and firefighters?
Yes, since the civil union law provides that civil union spouses are to be given all of the same benefits that are given to married spouses, which include pension-related survivor benefits. However, spouses in a civil union are subject to the same restrictions and obligations in relation to these benefits that married spouses are. For example, the surviving spouse of a police officer is entitled to survivor benefits only if the couple was joined in a civil union or married before retirement. Similarly, the surviving spouse of a firefighter is eligible for benefits only if the civil union or marriage occurred at least one year before the death of the firefighter.
As the nuances of Illinois’ civil union law come into focus, we continue to discuss the new benefits that civil union couples in the state have been given in our ongoing blog series. This post discusses what rights civil union spouses are given in relation to auto and property insurance.
Do insurers have to give civil union couples the same joint policies and discounts offered to married couples?
Yes. Insurers are required to offer the same contracts and policies to civil union couples as offered to married couples. If rates and/or discounts are offered based upon marital status by an insurer, they are required to treat civil union couples and married couples identically.
Now that Illinois’ civil union law is in effect, we will continue discussing the new benefits that have been granted to civil union couples in our ongoing blog series. In this post, we discuss life insurance in relation to civil union spouses.
Can life insurance be purchased to cover a civil union spouse?
Yes, life insurance can be bought to cover a civil union spouse. In order to buy insurance on someone else’s life and be designated as the beneficiary, it must be determined that someone has an “insurable interest” in the insured person’s life, meaning they would suffer losses, financial and otherwise, if the insured person died. Typically, insurance companies assume that close relatives, such as a spouse or child, have an insurable interest in an insured person’s life. Illinois’ civil union law guarantees that civil union spouses are treated equally as married spouses in regards to life insurance coverage and benefits.
This is a continuation of our blog series covering the impact that the new civil union law in Illinois has on the new benefits offering to civil union spouses.
Are Civil Union Spouses Given Health Insurance Coverage?
One of the most important questions the new law answers is whether or not health insurance policies have to provide coverage for civil union spouses. Yes, all HMO contracts and health insurance policies issued in Illinois are required to offer civil union couples the identical coverage given to married couples. Additionally, if a policy allows coverage for a married policyholder’s dependent children, the policy must also allow coverage for a civil union policyholder’s children. Rates for spousal or family coverage must not be different, regardless of whether the family consists of civil union or married spouses.
At the end of May, the Illinois Department of Insurance released new guidelines for insurance companies and consumers to follow in response to the “Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act,” which became law on June 1. Under the Act, people who choose to enter into a civil union in Illinois will be given many of the same legal rights given to married couples. During the course of the next few months, our blog will explain in greater detail the effect the new law has upon health insurance, Medicare, life insurance, property insurance, pensions, and more.
All insurance policies in Illinois that were issued on or after June 1, 2011 by an insurance company registered with the State of Illinois are to conform to the new law. Civil union spouses are also entitled to the same benefits as married spouses under Illinois workers’ compensation insurance.
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