KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

On Capitol Hill, Shopping For Health Plans From The Online Insurance Marketplaces Appears To Go Smoothly

The New York Times and Wall Street Journal report on how Capitol Hill lawmakers and their staffs are having a very different experience choosing coverage than most of their constituents.

The New York Times: Perks Ease Way In Health Plans For Lawmakers
Members of Congress like to boast that they will have the same health care enrollment experience as constituents struggling with the balky federal website, because the law they wrote forced lawmakers to get coverage from the new insurance exchanges. That is true. As long as their constituents have access to "in-person support sessions" like the ones being conducted at the Capitol and congressional office buildings by the local exchange and four major insurers. Or can log on to a special Blue Cross and Blue Shield website for members of Congress and use a special toll-free telephone number — a "dedicated congressional health insurance plan assistance line" (Pear, 11/19).

The Wall Street Journal: For Lawmakers, Staff, On Capitol Hill, Obamacare Rollout Goes Smoothly
Lawmakers and their staff are getting personal experience with the Affordable Care Act—and it isn't always the same as their constituents'. Members of Congress and their aides are getting coverage through the District of Columbia's small-business exchange. That fulfills a provision in the law requiring them to obtain coverage through new insurance exchanges, not the familiar federal employee benefits program, in which Congress, like many large employers, heavily subsidized their premiums. Some users say that the exchange for lawmakers is operating much more smoothly than the troubled website that serves regular folks in 36 states (Radnofsky, 11/19). 

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