Tuesday, November 27, 2007

We'll insure your frog, but not your human partner.

Your pet is a member of your family. So says the Palm Beach Community College.

But your human domestic partner isn't.
The pets of Palm Beach Community College employees will qualify for discounted group medical insurance beginning in January, but domestic partners are still barred from receiving similar benefits.

School officials sent a memo last week explaining the new voluntary pet benefit available via payroll deduction through the private company Veterinary Pet Insurance.

And it's not like the college's pet insurance scheme is restricted to just dogs and cats.

Full-time college employees can receive a 5 percent discount on services because of the college's enrollment in the program, which covers dogs and cats, but also hedgehogs, frogs, guinea pigs, geckos, iguanas and sugar gliders - small flying mammals native to Australia.
You can buy college sponsored health insurance for a frog. But your adult human partner? Well that's a different story, and it was a conscious decision on the part of the college trustees.

In August, PBCC trustees voted down a proposal to allow the domestic partners of full-time employees to receive insurance benefits. The plan wouldn't have cost the school anything because it pays employee premiums only, not those of dependents.
Now the kicker. (Yes, it gets a little worse). The pet health insurance plan (which insures frogs) was made available a mere 90 days after the trustees rejected the option for insuring domestic partners.

The college trustees apparently had a concern.

[Grace] Truman, [PBCC spokesperson] said trustees weren't concerned about costs to the college, but potential long-term increases for employees because of additional enrollees in the group plan.
That's weird. Maybe it's just me but I have always understood that the more enrollees in a plan, the cheaper it got for each member. Silly me for thinking that way.

Palm Beach Community College now joins the ranks of Home Depot, Sprint, Ecolab and Waste Management, all of whom offered pet health insurance and had to be pressured into providing the same option for domestic partners.

For more on this sick form of disconnect, head on over to Pam's House Blend.

And, oh yes, if Palm Beach Community College had ever seen what my two male terriers liked to do for fun, they probably wouldn't have insured them either.

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