S.1910, Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2011

Cost Estimate
November 26, 2012

As ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on May 16, 2012

S. 1910 would make same-sex domestic partners of certain federal employees (including certain employees of the District of Columbia who were first employed by the District before October 1, 1987) eligible to receive the same employment benefits as married spouses of federal employees. Benefits that would affect the federal budget include health insurance, survivor annuities, compensation for work-related injuries, and travel and relocation benefits.

S. 1910 also would require insurance plans that participate in the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program to recover payments when a third party is liable for the health care costs of a covered enrollee, and would clarify that federal law regarding such recoveries preempts state or local law.

CBO estimates that enacting S. 1910 would decrease net direct spending by $13 million between 2013 and 2022. Pay-as-you-go procedures apply because enacting the legislation would affect direct spending. Over the same period, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would have a discretionary cost of $144 million, assuming appropriation of the necessary funds.

Some of the costs of S. 1910 would derive from providing health benefits to the domestic partners of active workers of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS); cash flows of the USPS are classified as “off-budget.” CBO’s estimate of the bill includes such off-budget costs, which would total $68 million between 2013 and 2022.

S. 1910 would impose intergovernmental mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA), but CBO estimates that the cost of those mandates would be small and would not exceed the threshold established in UMRA for intergovernmental mandates ($73 million in 2012, adjusted annually for inflation). This bill contains no private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA.