[§431:10A-601]  Reciprocal beneficiary family coverage defined; policyholder and employer responsibility for costs; availability.  (a) Any other law to the contrary notwithstanding, reciprocal beneficiary family coverage, as defined in subsection (b), shall be made available to reciprocal beneficiaries, as defined in chapter 572C, but only to the extent that family coverage, as defined in section 431:10A-103, is currently available to individuals who are not reciprocal beneficiaries.

     (b)  As used in this section, "reciprocal beneficiary family coverage" means a policy that insures, originally or upon subsequent amendment, a reciprocal beneficiary who shall be deemed the policyholder, the other party to the policyholder's reciprocal beneficiary relationship registered pursuant to chapter 572C, and dependent children or any child of any other person dependent upon either reciprocal beneficiary.

     (c)  If a reciprocal beneficiary policyholder incurs additional costs or premiums, if any, by electing reciprocal beneficiary family coverage under this section, the employer may pay additional costs or premiums. [L 1997, c 383, §4; am L 2004, c 122, §37]


Attorney General Opinions


  Section applied only to insurers, and not mutual benefit societies or health maintenance organizations.  Att. Gen. Op. 97-5.

  As provided by subsection (c), an employer does not violate the reciprocal beneficiaries act [L 1997, c 383] if it chooses not to pay any additional cost or premium incurred by the employee in electing reciprocal beneficiary family coverage.  Att. Gen. Op. 97-10.

  Section applied to all parts of article 10A if the category of policy under consideration included family coverage, as defined in §431:10A-103.  Att. Gen. Op. 97-10.

  The division will be responsible for enforcement of health insurance provisions of the reciprocal beneficiaries act [L 1997, c 383]; those provisions can only be enforced against insurers, not employers.  Att. Gen. Op. 97-10.

  The employer is not required to pay the additional costs incurred by an employee's election for reciprocal beneficiary coverage.  The focus is on the insurance contract and the policyholder and recognizes that the reciprocal beneficiary, as policyholder, is the one who incurs the cost.  Att. Gen. Op. 97-10.

  The placement of this section in article 10A makes clear that the legislative intent was to mandate benefits that must be made available by insurers that write contracts of insurance providing family coverage; moreover, the statute specifies that the coverage be made available to reciprocal beneficiaries, not to employers.  Att. Gen. Op. 97-10.

  There is nothing in the reciprocal beneficiaries act [L 1997, c 383] that would prevent an insurer from making reciprocal beneficiary family coverage available in a policy separate from the policy it uses to make regular family coverage available.  Att. Gen. Op. 97-10.

  To the extent that the reciprocal beneficiaries act [L 1997, c 383] does impose obligations on insurers, it may provide a basis for affected persons to seek relief by, for example, seeking declaratory relief under chapter 632.  Att. Gen. Op. 97-10.


Law Journals and Reviews


  Tax Justice and Same-Sex Domestic Partner Health Benefits:  An Analysis of the Tax Equity For Health Plan Beneficiaries Act.  32 UH L. Rev. 73 (2009).