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More companies extending LGBT-inclusive benefits to employees: Survey

More companies extending LGBT-inclusive benefits to employees: Survey

The percentage of U.S. companies offering LGBT-inclusive health and retirement benefits continued to grow in 2014, according to new survey data from the Washington-based nonprofit Human Rights Campaign.

Ninety-three percent of the 781 midsize and large employers polled in the HRC's 2015 Corporate Equality Index currently provide comprehensive health benefits — including medical, dental, vision, dependent medical and COBRA continuation coverage — for their employees' same-sex spouses and domestic partners, compared with 90% of employers polled in 2013.

Among those employers, 71% provide equal health benefits to same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partners, up from 68% in the prior year's survey.

The HRC's report, released last week, also revealed a substantial increase in the percentage of employers offering transgender-inclusive health care coverage through at least one group health benefit plan. Fifty-three percent of employers polled in 2014 said they've expanded their employees' health care coverage to include surgical procedures, hormone therapy and other gender reassignment-related services, compared with 46% of employers surveyed in 2013.

“The results from this year's Corporate Equality Index demonstrate that the nation's leading companies” see full lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusion “as the standard for workplace equality,” Deena Fidas, director of the HRC Foundation's workplace equality program, said in a statement released Nov. 19.

The report also noted a slight increase in the percentage of employers that have expanded their retirement benefit plans to include same-sex domestic partners. According to the report, 80% of employers still providing defined benefit pension plans to their employees have offered qualified joint and survivor annuities for same-sex domestic partners, while 79% have offered qualified pre-retirement survivor annuities.

Additionally, 87% of employers providing cash-balance pension plans have extended those benefits to domestic partners, compared with 86% in 2013, according to the report.

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