The Salt Lake County Council plans to decide Tuesday whether to extend employee health benefits to dependent children and "adult designees," such as siblings, long-term roommates and unmarried partners.

Councilwoman Jenny Wilson said she pulled the item from Tuesday's agenda to give Councilman Jeff Allen more time to study the proposal.

She said she's also made a minor change to the proposal that would allow married couples to add an adult. The previous version only allowed a person who is single to add an adult to the health benefits.

An adult designee is defined as a person who is not the spouse of an employee, has resided in the same domicile with the eligible employee for at least the past 12 consecutive months, is at least 18 years old, and is directly dependent upon or interdependent with the employee sharing a common financial obligation.

Wilson first floated the plan in 2005, but it was defeated. Salt Lake City has since taken the plan, retooled it and expanded it and won the approval of 3rd District Court Judge Stephen Roth.

Wilson said she began working off of Salt Lake City's plan and has been ready for a year to have the council vote on it.

In 2005, Councilman Mark Crockett cast the deciding vote against Wilson's plan, but a year ago said he's more comfortable with it.

A change in the policy would apply to health, dental and life insurance, extended funeral leave, sick leave to care for a dependent, the employee assistance program and other programs.

Salt Lake County could expect costs to increase by about $290,000 per year, or 1 percent of total claims, according to Wilson's memo to council colleagues.

She said the Utah Legislature's passage of SB299, sponsored by Sen. Greg Bell, R-Fruit Heights, granted statutory authority to the county to extend adult designee benefits to its employees.


Contributing: Leigh Dethman

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