Savannah approves domestic partner benefits

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SAVANNAH, Ga. -- With a unanimous vote Thursday, the Savannah City Council agreed to extend domestic partner benefits to city employees.

The approval means that when the city begins its annual health insurance enrollment in November, any of its estimated 2,500 employees who are in domestic partner relationships will be able to sign up companions for benefits.

Beth Robinson, the city's director of human resources, said research from other cities, including Atlanta and Athens, shows the cost of coverage increased by only about 1 percent. Savannah last year spent $20 million on prescription drugs and other medical costs for workers, which means domestic partner expenses are estimated to cost about $200,000, she said. The city will have a more precise estimate after its enrollment ends in November.

The city also has some room in its health care budget for the additional expense, she said. The city has continued to reduce its health care costs, she said, and this year will spend $2 million less than projected.

Jean Levens was the only Savannah citizen to speak against the initiative, and her comments were countered quickly by Mayor Pro Tem Edna Jackson, alderman Tony Thomas, Van Johnson, Clifton Jones and Mary Osborne.

Mayor Otis Johnson and Alderman Jeff Felser, who could not attend the meeting, both submitted letters of support that were read into the minutes.

Levens said she didn't believe the council needed to set such policy.

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johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 10/22/10 - 07:06 am
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Several European countries

Several European countries dealt with this situation years ago by doing away with marriage and making all "couplings" into civil unions. All you need to do is claim a "partner" and fill out the appropriate paperwork to divert your "benefits".

airbud7
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airbud7 10/22/10 - 09:08 am
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$20 million on prescription

$20 million on prescription drugs for 2,500 employees? Thats $8000 per employee? Who pays for this?

TrukinRanger
1748
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TrukinRanger 10/22/10 - 11:58 am
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Taxpayers pay for it.... some
Unpublished

Taxpayers pay for it.... some of which are domestic partners.

ameliaf
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ameliaf 10/22/10 - 01:19 pm
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Good for Savannah! Actually,

Good for Savannah!

Actually, an average cost of $8,000 per enrolled employee many not be too bad. Depends on how many dependents there are. Total cost of typical family coverage is about $13,200 in the South.

Gay people work and pay taxes, too.

ruudvonbaron
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ruudvonbaron 10/22/10 - 02:00 pm
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$20 million on prescription

$20 million on prescription drugs AND OTHER MEDICAL COSTS.

And not all domestic partners are gay people.

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