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Commissioner's Court adopts "plus-one" insurance plan for county employees
QSanAntonio.com, February 4, 2014 UPDATED: 9:20 P.M.

The Bexar County Commissioner's Court on February 4 voted unanimously to modify the county's benefits program to allow employees to add a "plus-one" qualifying adult to their insurance plans.

The "plus-one" insurance plan permits county employees in same-sex relationships to insure their partners or spouses without having to qualify their relationship as a legal marriage or domestic partnership thus eliminating any conflict with state law which forbids same-sex unions.

The agenda item was sponsored by County Judge Nelson Wolff and County Commissioner Paul Elizondo. The resolution calls for the immediate implementation of the policy and requests that the University Health System adopt a similar policy for their employees.

The effort by county officials is hailed by local LGBT activists as a positive development for county employees with same-sex partners or spouses. In 2011, the City of San Antonio approved benefits for domestic partners of employees, including same-sex partners.

In his January 26 address at the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio's candidate forum, Judge Wolff said he would "move forward in adopting one plus language." However, he gave no timeline for its introduction.

Wolff also said he supported sensitivity training for county employees, channeling more funds into AIDS programs and making sure the county's EEO policy included sexual orientation and gender identity/expression as protected classes.

The county's "plus-one" plan requires the employee and unmarried partner or spouse to have lived together in the same residence for at least 12 consecutive months and must continue to do so to remain eligible. Other requirements include:

- The "plus-one" qualifying adult must be 18 years of age or older

- The plus-one" qualifying adult must be financially interdependent with the employee, sharing common financial obligations as evidenced by three or more of the following documents: a joint deed or mortgage agreement or leasehold interest in real property; a vehicle title showing common ownership of vehicle; proof of joint bank or credit accounts; proof of designation as primary beneficiary on life insurance policy; or assignment of durable power of attorney or health care power of attorney.

The Bexar County resolution is similar to a plan adopted in El Paso last year.

Last July, El Paso County Commissioners and County Judge Veronica Escobar approved a "plus-one" plan for the county after Texas attorney general Greg Abbot issued a statement about government entities in Texas offering benefits to same-sex partners.

“The Texas Constitution prohibits political subdivisions from creating a legal status of domestic partnership and recognizing that status by offering public benefits based upon it," Abbot said.

Bexar County becomes the third county in Texas following Dallas and El Paso counties to offer such benefits to its employees.

Dan Graney contributed reporting to this article.

LGBT community scores a quiet victory at Commissioners Court
By Randy Bear, Rivard Report, February 5, 2014
The Bexar County Commissioners Court was the scene Tuesday of the latest advance in inclusiveness for LGBT employees. With very little fanfare, the Commissioners Court unanimously passed a resolution adding a “Plus One Qualifying Adult” option to the county’s benefits package.

Non-married partners of county employees to get benefits
KSAT.com, February 6, 2014
The vote by Bexar County commissioners was unanimous, granting benefits to non-married partners in the county.

Domestic partner benefits approved for Bexar County employees
Texas Public Radio, February 6, 2014
Bexar County Commissioners have unanimously passed a provision that would allow county employee benefits to be extended to domestic partners.

Despite attorney general decision, Bexar Co. employees get same-sex partner benefits
KENS5.com, February 6, 2014
Health care benefits for domestic partners never came up at Tuesday’s Bexar County Commissioner Meeting. Officials didn’t use those words. Instead, a resolution was passed that took effect immediately, with an impact on all Bexar County employees’ medical, dental, vision and life insurance plans.

Domestic partner benefits granted to county employees
San Antonio Current, February 5, 2014
Following a unanimous Commissioners Court vote yesterday, partners of Bexar County employees are now able to receive benefits, including health, vision, dental, and life insurance.