Skip to comments.St. Anne’s (Hospital in MA) won’t give benefits to same-sex couples
Posted on 09/12/2004 2:43:58 AM PDT by NYer
FALL RIVER -- Gay and lesbian employees at St. Anne's Hospital who provide health care benefits for their spouses will no longer be able to provide those services to their loved ones. Beginning Oct. 1, St. Annes is changing all of its health plans to self-funded plans. The move allows the hospital's managing group, Caritas Christi Health Care, to stop extending insurance benefits to same-sex spouses of employees.
Under a self-funded plan, the employer pays funds for the plan based on its actual claims experience and hires a plan administrator to process the claims.
A letter to employees dated Sept. 3 explained the change. "Since same-sex marriage is in conflict with church teachings, all Caritas Christi Hospitals are changing to self-funded plans."
St. Anne's Hospital is part of Caritas Christi's Catholic Health Care System, which is associated with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. The group operates six hospitals throughout eastern Massachusetts.
A representative for the Archdiocese of Boston referred all questions to spokesmen at St. Anne's.
St. Anne's spokeswoman Wendy Bauer said that it is the ideal of following those teachings that played a role in making the switch.
"Federal law states that employers with self-funded plans are not required to extend insurance benefits to same-sex spouses or employees," Bauer said.
Bauer said she did not know how many St. Anne's employees are in same-sex marriages, but that to this point she had not heard any negative feedback regarding the changes.
"Our enrollment fair is not until next week. Normally, that is when we hear input from the employees," she said.
She added that currently a majority of employees at the hospital use a self-funded plan.
Michele Granda, staff attorney for the activist group Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, said that the Caritas group should still provide same-sex spouses of employees with benefits regardless of Catholic teachings.
"They can make the teachings known without penalizing employees' spouses," Granda said. "They get paid the same and they earn the same benefits through the week -- it should be good for all spouses."
Granda said that this is the first instance she has heard of employers making changes to health plans to deny same-sex couples shared benefits.
All of the other hospitals in the system are also switching to the self-funded plans on Oct. 1.
While the plans will take away the ability for same-sex couples to share their health benefits, Bauer said that the move is also being done to give employees the most economical option.
"We review the benefits every year and take a look back at everything and make changes to provide the best plan at the most reasonable costs," Bauer said.
The new plans are being provided by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of New England. Currently, St. Anne's employees receive their health care from United Healthcare or Tufts Health Plan. The Tufts plan, which is also self-funded, will continue to be offered to employees.
The letter to employees added that the switch in health care providers was made due to the likelihood that remaining with United Healthcare would cause claims to fluctuate significantly, causing a rise in unbudgeted costs.
Because the other hospitals in Caritas Christi's system are also switching to the self-funded plans, only claims made by St. Anne's employees would be spread out among the other Caritas members.
Bauer said that being able to provide employees with health care at a lower cost is also helpful because health care employees tend to have higher usage rates.
"Employees of health care organizations tend to have a greater awareness and knowledge as well as access to health care, which may cause these higher utilization rates," said Bauer.
The change will also effect the hospital's dental plan, which is provided by Delta Dental. However, a slight decrease to the dental plan is expected with no changes in benefits.
Another reason for the switch, Bauer said, is to provide better options for Rhode Island residents who work at the hospital.
Josh Freidas, advocacy director for the Freedom to Marry Coalition of Massachusetts, said that stripping same-sex couples of the ability to provide health care insurance for their partners is a disturbing trend to set.
"Any employer who sets to change benefit plans and attempt to deny spouses essential benefits, whether it's health care or retirement plans, is an action that is cruel and inhumane," Freidas said. "Marriage is the ultimate family protection plan."
Freidas said that the ability for same-sex couples to provide benefits for spouses is another step that solidifies the union of marriage.
"Gay and lesbians sought marriage rights as a way to demonstrate that they are committed to each other," Freidas said. "It is very disturbing that organizations are seeking to deny gay and lesbian spouses equal benefits."
The official position of the Catholic Church on Gay Unions:
CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING PROPOSALS TO GIVE LEGAL RECOGNITION TO UNIONS BETWEEN HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS
Catholic Ping - let me know if you want on/off this list
Whoda thunk sane peoploids live in Fall River?
Nanny software stripping useful words (at work...in Fall River! Use imagination)
This is clearly a Hate Crime! Religious beliefs of any persuasion aren't allowed unless Allah is involved.
St. Anne's? Might that be in honor of the St. Anne, mother of Mary, mother of Christ?
I guess there might be a few religious overtones in their actions given that they were built by a religious organization.
The libs are going to have their panties twisted into a bunch on this one.
Then let them be committed to each other, but it still doesn't count as "marriage", nor should the same rights be extended as such...
Yup. I floated that one a long time ago.
And there is nothing the government can do to force the issue.
Money is the only thing behind the homosexuals demanding the government recognize their unions.
Let the gays try to go after St. Ann. They have no idea who their dealing with.
Homosexual Agenda Ping - A good one! Good for the Catholics standing up for moral absolutes as propounded by every single monotheist religion in the history of the world.
Not much on the Homo-agenda front the last few days, other stuff taking precedence...mushroom clouds, blasts here and there, Islamo-jihadis spewing their poison, and so on.
Let me and ItsOurTimeNow know if anyone wants on/off this pinglist.
You are correct in your assumption. I will try to remember to later post quotes on this thread from homosexual spokespeople explaining exactly what they really think of same sex marriage. It's not because they are interested in holy matrimony. It's purely political, and monogamy is not one of the key features of the homosexual life.
Be careful what you ask for, all you freaks and creeps.
There is a limit to what the average person will accept as "normal". Here's a line in the sand.
Change the Federal Law, you say? Then, if I were an employer, I would discontinue health benefits for everyone. It is a BENEFIT----NOT A RIGHT.
Tell me as an employer that I must have health insurance? Watch how fast I close the doors and only hire myself.
Years ago, I was strongly encouraged to expand my client base and hire employees to help me. I declined because even then- the late 70's, the quality of young persons that I could hire to perform the work I did was declining drastically. I looked at their attitude at getting the work done timely, meeting deadlines for reports, and willingness to put in an honest days work. I didn't see any of that then, and I see even less of it now. If I had hired employees and expanded and today had to interview freaks with tattoos and piercings everywhere, I would probably vomit on them during the interview. I am still self-employed. I don't make alot of money, but I control who I work for and when I work and when I play. It ain't all bad at that, and I don't have to see Gothic dressed creeps with piercings sitting at my desks.
Sooner or later, the message gets across.
BTW Emeril Lagasse is Portuguese background and from Fall River
If the answer is "No", then then homosexual couples have nothing to complain about.
Thank you for sharing that beautiful story ... yes, miracles do occur and St. Anne is a powerful advocate for those who have faith. She is also the patron saint of my Maronite Catholic Church. :-)