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Honorary Onelers: Corporate Version! June 9, 2010

Posted by Onely in Everyday Happenings, Honorary Onely Awards.
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Today Onely would like to honor Morgan Stanley. After some hefty research involving a happy hour with friends at a sushi restaurant, I learned that Morgan Stanley provides (at least in some circumstances) health insurance benefits to non-married couples. My friend’s friend “Monique” is moving to Budapest to join her British boyfriend “Kurtis”, who works there for Morgan Stanley. She quit her steady government job to do this, so she’s taking a bit of a risk (and all the more so because Hungarian is a very difficult language–after all, they spell my name Chrisztina!).  Kudos to Morgan Stanley for making things a little bit easier for her as she embarks on this adventure.

Copious Readers, what other firms are singles-friendly? (And we’ll also take snarky stories about couple-crazed companies as well!)

–Christina

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1. Lauri - June 14, 2010

That’s not singles-friendly, that’s still couples friendly. Every company I’ve worked at since graduating college has offered this benefit, and I think it is singlist and discriminatory. If Morgan Stanley or any other company offered a second, non-employee health benefit to anyone the employee wanted to share it with, then that would be singles-friendly policy. Even if they offered health benefits *only* to employees and children, regardless of marital status, I would also consider that “singles friendly” because it is not discriminatory. Basically Morgan Stanley’s (and my current company’s) policy is saying, we will pay for a portion of the health insurance for anyone our employees are presumably having sex with, but no one else, regardless of their relationship to the employee. My coworker can put an unmarried romantic partner on their employee health insurance plan but I couldn’t put my parents, siblings, or friends on it if they needed it. The company is basically paying for adults who don’t work here at the expense of people who DO work here (they could afford much better health insurance if they didn’t have to pay for all those romantic partners!) but ONLY if those non-employees have a sexual relationship with the employee. In addition, this practice gives couples a choice of the better health insurance plan they want to join if they are both employed and both receiving this benefit, which is often the case. So for example, if Monique had a job that provided a crappy health plan, she has the option of joining the Morgan Stanley plan, which gets her company more off the hook for providing quality insurance benefits, and the single employees at her company are made worse off.

Offering this benefits is almost worse than offering it only to married couples, because in effect it is not just doing so based on a legal-economic tie, but rather just on the premise of over-valuing romantic/sexual relationships at the expense of singles.

Onely - June 14, 2010

You’re right Lauri–those are great points, and disappointing. I was not aware that this was common practice at companies and thought it was a unique step in the right direction. I didn’t consider that the policy would be limited to romantic couplings, which was perhaps overly optimistic of me (maybe I was in a good mood because of all the sushi). Though I guess upon reflection I’m not shocked if that’s the case. (I have to wonder if anyone has tried to get benefits for a partner of a non-romantic nature.)
CC

Lauri - June 14, 2010

I believe that this practice grew out of a effort to not discriminate against gays before they could legally marry and/or in states where they can’t. If these companies offered additional benefits to married couples only, that would be unequal pay for the same work on the basis of sexual orientation, and companies can’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. They can, however, discriminate on the basis of marital status if all else is equal- singles aren’t on the list.

In theory, you might be able to pretend that an unrelated roommate is your romantic partner to receive the benefit, but that would be a little deceitful and I don’t know, but I bet you could get in trouble for it. I think you have to have the same address, and it would be too easy for a company or the health insurance provider to find out if the person is related to you.

Regardless of marital status, I think it is BLATANT discrimination for companies to offer to pay for insurance for 2 people for some employees and only 1 person for others, completely based on whether they’re in a sexual couple. Children are ok in my mind, because they can’t work to receive their own benefits. But there’s no reason that an adult romantic partner couldn’t pay for their own health insurance. My company offers a poor insurance plan, and almost everyone chooses to forgo it and hop onto their partner’s insurance. The few of us that have no choice are thus screwed.


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