Beginning in January 1998, San Francisco-based Bank of America will extend health benefits to same-sex or opposite-sex domestic partners or to one under-65 dependent adult relative of its employees. Enrollment for the medical, dental and vision coverage will begin this fall. Partners are required to have been in “committed relationship that has existed for at least six months, and must be responsible for each other’s welfare on a continuing basis.”
The third-largest U.S. bank, Bank of America spokesman Dennis Wyss said he believed that Bank of America was the only major U.S. bank to offer extended health benefits. Wyss said that one factor in Bank of America’s decision was the San Francisco governing board of supervisors passage of a local law requiring companies doing business with the city to provide equal benefits for married employees and employees with domestic partners. However, Wyss maintained the company had considered extending benefits before the San Francisco ordinance was introduced.