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Lawmakers given taste of own medicine

| August 8, 2013

Older members of the U.S. Congress and those who smoke could be facing much higher health insurance premiums under a new official interpretation of President Barack Obama’s health-care law, according to a story by Robert Pear for The New York Times.

The administration said yesterday that the government would continue contributing to the cost of health benefits for lawmakers and thousands of congressional employees, but that they would have to buy coverage as individuals through new state-based markets known as insurance exchanges.

Federal workers, including lawmakers, now generally get coverage through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, the nation’s largest employer-sponsored health insurance program. Under some of the most popular health plans, the government contributes $5,000 a year for individual coverage and $11,000 for family coverage.

But the 2010 health-care law generally required members of Congress and employees in their “official offices” to get coverage through the exchanges. The purpose of this change was to make sure lawmakers understood the benefits and burdens of the law, as experienced by many of their constituents.

In the federal employee program, people in the same health plan generally pay the same premiums, regardless of their age or place of residence.

However, for health plans sold on the exchanges, premiums can vary, based on a person’s age, tobacco use and place of residence.

Category: Breaking News

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