Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Post-Dispatch to End Benefits for Domestic Partners

Posted By on Wed, Oct 12, 2016 at 6:20 AM

click to enlarge If your partner works for Lee Enterprises and you want health insurance, you've got to make some painful choices. - SHUTTERSTOCK/KZENON
  • SHUTTERSTOCK/Kzenon
  • If your partner works for Lee Enterprises and you want health insurance, you've got to make some painful choices.

If you want to put your partner on your health insurance, get ready to say "I do" first.

That's the latest from the parent company of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Iowa-based Lee Enterprises, which told employees Monday that it was eliminating health insurance coverage for domestic partners beginning next year. The move affects staffers at the daily, plus presumably its sister publications within the Suburban Journals family as well as Feast Magazine and the Ladue News.

The announcement was made on a flyer given to employees — so retro! Here's the verbiage, according to an employee who received it:
Lee is following common practices and eliminating domestic partner coverage for 2017. If you currently cover a domestic partner, your domestic partner will need to consider other coverage options for 2017. This also applies to a domestic partner's children.
In an email, Post-Dispatch spokeswoman Tracy Rouch tells us the decision has its origins in the court-ordered legalization of gay marriage that happened last year.

She writes, "The company’s decision to offer domestic partner benefits was made at a time when a number of our employees were not afforded the opportunity to legally marry, and thus had no access to spousal benefits. All of our employees now have that opportunity." 

And if it saves Lee a bit of money, too? All the better.

Still, that's got to be cold comfort for anyone who's gotten used to these benefits. We imagine a few people over at the Post-Dispatch are now facing the toughest of choices: Sign away your life for married "bliss"? Or fill out an application for Obamacare? It's not quite Sophie's choice, we'll admit, but it surely smarts a bit nevertheless.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at sarah.fenske@riverfronttimes.com


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