(a) A group health care service plan that provides hospital, medical, or surgical expense benefits shall provide equal coverage to employers or guaranteed associations, as defined in Section 1357, for the registered domestic partner of an employee or subscriber to the same extent, and subject to the same terms and conditions, as provided to a spouse of the employee or subscriber, and shall inform employers and guaranteed associations of this coverage. A plan shall not offer or provide coverage for a registered domestic partner that is not equal to the coverage provided to the spouse of an employee or subscriber, and shall not discriminate in coverage between spouses or domestic partners of a different sex and spouses or domestic partners of the same sex. The prohibitions and requirements imposed by this section are in addition to any other prohibitions and requirements imposed by law.
(b) If an employer or guaranteed association has purchased coverage for spouses and registered domestic partners pursuant to subdivision (a), a health care service plan that provides hospital, medical, or surgical expense benefits for employees or subscribers and their spouses shall enroll, upon application by the employer or group administrator, a registered domestic partner of an employee or subscriber in accordance with the terms and conditions of the group contract that apply generally to all spouses under the plan, including coordination of benefits.
(c) For purposes of this section, the term "domestic partner" shall have the same meaning as that term is used in Section 297 of the Family Code.
(d) (1) A health care service plan may require that the employee or subscriber verify the status of the domestic partnership by providing to the plan a copy of a valid Declaration of Domestic Partnership filed with the Secretary of State pursuant to Section 298 of the Family Code or an equivalent document issued by a local agency of this state, another state, or a local agency of another state under which the partnership was created. The plan may also require that the employee or subscriber notify the plan upon the termination of the domestic partnership.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a health care service plan may require the information described in that paragraph only if it also requests from the employee or subscriber whose spouse is provided coverage, verification of marital status and notification of dissolution of the marriage.
(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to expand the requirements of Section 4980B of Title 26 of the United States Code, Section 1161, and following, of Title 29 of the United States Code, or Section 300bb-1, and following, of Title 42 of the United States Code, as added by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (Public Law 99-272), and as those provisions may be later amended.
(f) A plan subject to this section that is issued, amended, delivered, or renewed in this state on or after January 2, 2005, shall be deemed to provide coverage for registered domestic partners that is equal to the coverage provided to a spouse of an employee or subscriber.
(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 722, Sec. 2.)