Saturday, July 06, 2013

DOMA - Personal and Professional

For those of you who don't know what I do for a living, I help large companies implement a software package that helps them manage their Human Resources, Payroll and Benefits functions...almost exclusively helping them implement the Benefits portion of this software package.

Impact Of SCOTUS and DOMA

Note:  If you get bored with details, make sure you read the last paragagraph...most peoples ears bleed when I discuss this.

My current client allows Same-Sex Domestic Partners (SSDP) to be covered under their employees' medical, dental and vision plan, but not under their dependent life insurance plans.  Further, let's say, the total cost of medical for an employee and spouse is $100, and the employee pays $25 to subsidize the cost, approximately half of that $25 subsidy is added to the employee's taxable income, since it's considered a taxable "benefit" to the employee to pay for a portion of their non-spousal medical coverage.  The Federal government requires them to do this.

That's how it currently works here...and it's very similar in most large companies that offer medical benefits.

So now, what do they do?

  • Do they open up coverage for dependent life insurance plans to all SSDP and same-sex married employees, or just married employees in the states that allow it?
  • Do they ask employees with SSDP to declare that they're married (in States where it's legal) and cover them as a spouse?
  • If so, what date do they use to stop adding taxable income to them?
  • If someone is married in a state that allows it, but lives in a state that doesn't, can they declare married benefits, or is it still taxable.
  • If someone is married to their same-sex spouse while living in a state that allows it, and then moves to a state that doesn't, do they switch them back to taxable status and take away their eligibility for dependent life insurance?
All these questions need to be answered and systems need to be modified to allow for whatever choices are made.  The determination of how same-sex couples are handled individually in each state needs to be reviewed on a state-by-state basis and will change as various state laws change.  Companies are required to comply with state laws, federal laws and their own policies.  It is complex, confusing and will be in a state of flux for a while.

How much you want to bet, there is a huge push to make marriage equality the rule of the country from every Fortune-500 company in the country?  It's going to be expensive to configure systems and administer widely varying rules from state-to-state and they're not going to want to do it.  I couldn't be happier about all the chaos.

Current Foraging

I know I don't forage for wild mushrooms often, but I went with Thaddeus yesterday to find a basketful of beautiful.

Yes, it's Chanterelle season (just starting) and we found quite a few (about 3 pounds in total) of nice small ones. 

Finally a photo of the elusive Thaddeus with the not-so-elusive mushrooms.

 Here's what they looked like in their natural habitat.

And here's what they look like in their non-natural habitat.

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