The Bank of America is moving to equalize the cost of health care for same-sex couples on bank-sponsored health-care plans.
Presently, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) forbids the federal government from recognizing the validity of same-sex marriages. So under federal law, employer-provided health benefits for same-sex partners are counted as taxable income, if the partner is not considered a spouse or dependent. Additionally, gay employees cannot use pretax dollars to pay for their premiums — unlike their opposite-sex married counterparts.
However, starting next year, B of A employees with same-sex partners will begin receiving reimbursements for the extra taxes they pay for health insurance.
The banking giant will provide the reimbursement once a year, and it will be calculated for each employee on an individual basis. “We regularly review our benefits plans to ensure they meet the diverse needs of our employees,” said Ferris Morrison, a spokeswoman for the bank.
Bank of America also says this option will only be offered to gay couples, since heterosexual domestic partners have the option to marry and avoid the extra taxes.