If You Want Health Insurance You Better Be Getting It On

Monday, January 23, 2006

If You Want Health Insurance You Better Be Getting It On

The University of Florida is preparing to offer health care benefits to all unmarried partners of their employees. Yeah!

But there's a small catch that underlines just how absurd our health insurance system can be-- they must sign an affadavit swearing that they are in a "non-platonic" relationship. (Can you hear the panties of a thousand of right-wingers twisting? A state school is requiring that people have pre-marital sex to get health insurance! Oh the horror!)

I know questions such as these are intended as a stand-in for "marriage" and to weed out roommates who want to give their buddy health insurance, however, basing whether or not you can get health insurance on sex and love is pretty absurd. If you are responsible for another person, if you are sisters, roommates, etc., you should be able to get health insurance. If you live with someone and they pay half the bills it's important that they are well, that they can continue working, is it not? I'm not saying that a relationship between roommates and unmarried partners is the same, obviously, but why is it a health insurance company's business?

I'm personally familiar with such a provision, years ago when I worked for an company that offered partner benefits the health insurance company required that we answer in the affirmative a similar series of questions to qualify-- that we were living together, had joint bank accounts, and we had to swear that we were in a "monogamous romantic relationship." We found it both invasive and ridiculous. Even more amusing we had to go to a bank to get the damn form witnessed and notarized. The poor guy at the bank didn't know what to think. We found the whole ordeal pretty hilarious in a roll-our-eyes sort of way.

But it was made crystal clear to me that day that qualifying for health insurance benefits should not teeter on whether or not you're in love. Or having sex. Or married. Granted I'm one of those crazy liberals who believes that everyone should have health insurance, that health insurance should not be tied to whether or not you're employed or married, and that health care in general should not be a for-profit industry. But that's just silly ol' me.

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