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Understanding the New Domestic Partner Coverage

The university’s benefits program includes coverage for both the employee and their eligible dependents in the following plans: medical, dental, dependent life and personal accident insurance. And now, effective January 1, 2016, the definition of eligible dependents has changed.

Eligible dependents include:

  • A legally married spouse or domestic partner—of either the same or opposite sex
  • Their child(ren)* up until the end of the year in which the child turns age 26. Coverage may be continued for children up to any age, if they cannot support themselves because of a mental or physical disability (certification of disability is required) that occurred before the end of the year in which the child turns age 26.
*the definition of children includes: biological children, adopted children, children placed with the eligible employee for adoption, stepchildren, children of the employee’s domestic partner or children for whom the eligible employee has been appointed legal guardian.

In order to qualify for benefits coverage for your domestic partner (and their children), you must complete the JHU Affidavit of Marriage/Domestic Partnership and submit it with your benefit elections.

You need to be aware of certain tax implications if you are enrolling your domestic partner (and their children) in coverage. Under federal law, domestic partners are not recognized as spouses. Your domestic partner or a child of a domestic partner generally will qualify as your dependent for federal income tax purposes only if he or she shares the same principal residence as you for the applicable calendar year and you provide more than half of his/her support for the calendar year.

If your domestic partner or any child of your domestic partner does not qualify as your dependent for federal income tax purposes (under special rules that apply for purposes of employer-sponsored health benefits), the Internal Revenue Code requires that the fair market value of any JHU-paid health benefits provided for that person must be treated as taxable income to you and JHU will withhold taxes on that imputed income.

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