Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF approves health benefit for employees' domestic partners

TAMPA — University of South Florida trustees this week approved offering health benefits to domestic partners of USF employees.

"This is the right thing to do," said professor of education Sherman Dorn, the president of USF's faculty union, which has worked on securing the benefits for five years.

USF administrators aren't sure how many employees will apply for the benefits, but they've budgeted $500,000 for the coverage. They said the money will not come from state revenues or USF Foundation funds.

In the past they have said it will be drawn from revenue sources such as concessions.

The USF system has about 13,000 employees on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Lakeland. Of those, about 6,000 are eligible to receive university benefits and thus would potentially be eligible for domestic partner benefits.

Based on national averages of employers who provide the benefits, USF administrators said they expect about 1 percent of those 6,000 employees, or 60 people, to participate. The benefits are available to both heterosexual and same-sex couples, faculty and non-faculty.

Partners of employees can get the benefit from USF if they don't qualify for any other health insurance and have exhausted COBRA benefits, USF senior vice provost Dwayne Smith said.

Under the program, USF will provide a stipend of up to $500 a month for the purchase of health insurance for the employee's partner. If the partner later becomes eligible for health insurance, the employee loses the stipend.

To make sure employees don't abuse the benefit, USF will require employees and their partners to file a declaration saying they have lived and shared financial responsibilities together for at least six months and are in an emotionally committed relationship.

If the partner is employed, he or she must show proof that his or her employer does not provide health insurance or that the partner can't qualify for it.

They also must meet at least three of 11 other criteria, including owning property, having bank accounts or holding credit cards jointly, having a driver's license with the same address, having legal guardianship of dependents together or designating each other as beneficiaries for life insurance or retirement plans.

The subsidy is taxable, and the recipients will have to demonstrate proof of securing the insurance, Smith said.

Offering the benefits is expected to help USF compete with schools like Rutgers, the University of Michigan and Ohio State University in attracting new faculty members.

"Now we can recruit and retain the talent we need to move this university forward," USF provost Ralph Wilcox told Dorn after the trustees' vote Thursday.

Richard Danielson can be reached at or (813) 226-3403.

USF approves health benefit for employees' domestic partners 01/22/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 22, 2010 11:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Worker critically injured after falling off truck in Clearwater


    A Zephyrhills man was critically injured early Thursday morning when he fell off the back of a road construction vehicle.

  2. Electricity poles and lines lay toppled on the road after Hurricane Maria hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, September 20, 2017. The strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years destroyed hundreds of homes, knocked out power across the entire island and turned some streets into raging rivers in an onslaught that could plunge the U.S. territory deeper into financial crisis. [Associated Press]
  3. Trigaux: For Class of 2016, college debt loads favor Florida graduates


    Florida college graduates saddled with student debt: Take heart. The average debt Class of 2016 Florida grads must bear is less than students in most states.

    University of South Florida undergraduates gather at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa for last fall's commencement ceremony. A new survey finds their average student debt upon graduating was $22,276. Statewide, 2016 Florida grads ranked a relatively unencumbered 45th among states, averaging $24,461 in student debt. [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  4. Romano: One person, one vote is not really accurate when it comes to Florida


    Imagine this:

    Your mail-in ballot for the St. Petersburg mayoral election has just arrived. According to the fine print, if you live on the west side of the city, your ballot will count as one vote. Meanwhile, a ballot in St. Pete's northeast section counts for three votes.

    Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections worker Andrea West adds mail ballots to an inserter Sept. 22 at the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Service Center in Largo. (SCOTT KEELER   |   Times)
  5. St. Petersburg will hold first budget hearing tonight

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Sunshine City's new property tax rate looks exactly like its current rate. For the second year in a row, Mayor Rick Kriseman does not plan to ask City Council for a tax hike or a tax cut.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman talks about the state of the city on Tuesday, two days after Hiurricane Irma passed through the state. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]