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Philadelphia Employers Get Tax Incentives For Health Benefits to Same-Sex Partners

Tuesday, May 14, 2013
By Lorraine McCarthy

PHILADELPHIA--Philadelphia became the first U.S. city to offer tax credits to businesses that make health benefits available to the partners of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees, under a bill signed by Mayor Michael Nutter (D) May 9.

The measure (Bill No. 130224), which was approved by a 14-3 vote of the Philadelphia City Council April 25, also extends protections, rights, and benefits to life partners in matters of workplace fairness, medical decision-making, and public accommodations.

A life partnership is defined in part as a long-term committed relationship between two unmarried people of the same sex or gender identity, both of whom are Philadelphia residents, or one of whom owns real estate or a business in the city or receives employee benefits from the city.

The bill ensures that life partners of city employees receive the same retirement and survivorship benefits as spouses when the city employee dies.

In addition, the ordinance requires that health insurance plans for city employees provide benefits for transgender care beginning no later than Jan. 1, 2014, making Philadelphia the largest city in the nation to mandate such coverage, Councilman James F. Kenney (D) said in a statement.

Kenney, who sponsored the bill, said actuarial projections anticipate two or fewer claims per year for sex-change surgery, at an average cost of $50,000.


Text of Bill No. 130224 is at http://phila.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=2411242&GUID=51A62DB7-2E86-4419-97E5-7D3EC61D1F00.

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