NU regents to again consider same-sex benefits

By: Ashley Harding

After months of proposals, the University is ready to take the next step to add health insurance coverage to employees and their partners. It's called the Employee Plus One and it's been in the works since last October. Now, all that's left to do is vote.

The Board of Regents will vote next Friday on this measure. President J.B. Milliken says adding this coverage will attract great faculty, plus it's the right thing to do.

To expand coverage? Or not to expand coverage? That is the question on deck for University of Nebraska's Board of Regents. Next Friday, they will vote whether to provide health insurance benefits to employees “plus one” opposite or same-sex partner.  Some say it's sending a great message.

“It'd indicate that we're a welcoming and diverse campus and so, I can see that as a positive,” UNL Professor Mark Burbach said.

In a news conference, President Milliken laid out the specifics. Saying health, dental, and vision insurance would* become available. Employees' children may also be eligible for coverage as dependents.  President Milliken says it's simple coverage, and it's a big step for the University.

“We're the Big Ten. Every other institution, 11 out of 12 provides such benefits. Only University of Nebraska-Lincoln does not,” President Milliken said.

But it won't come for free. Officials estimate it could cost up to one and a half million dollars.  And in order to qualify, the “plus one” must have lived with an eligible employee for at least the past year. And they will have to prove they are dependent on that employee to get health insurance.

The vote will be held next Friday, and if it goes through, the benefits will take effect starting January first.