- The Washington Times - Friday, November 22, 2013

Aides to certain House Democrats who have worked for years on Capitol Hill say the price hikes they’re seeing in certain insurance plans due directly to Obamacare are both shock and awe, and some may leave their jobs to find more affordable options.

One chief of staff, Minh Ta, who works for Rep. Gwen Moore, wrote in an email to other leading staffers that was obtained by Politico: “In a shock to the system, the older staff in my office (folks over 59) have now found out their personal health insurance costs (even with the government contributions) have gone up 3-4 times what they were paying before. Simply unacceptable.

The warning: Older congressional staffers may have to find new positions in order to afford health insurance.

Obamacare pushed some congressional staffers out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits plan – the one heavily subsidized by taxpayers – into the plan offered under the District of Columbia marketplace exchange. Other staffers who were designated as “unofficial” staffers were allowed to keep the cushier plan.

The email warning comes in reference to those staffers who were designated “official,” and therefore lost their FEHB plans. And those staffers – especially the older ones, who can be charged higher rates than younger workers – are experiencing a significant sticker shock.

A run-down: Gold level Aetna HMOs cost about $684 a month for a 55-year-old, Politico reported. But for a 27-year-old, that same plan is $287.

Politico reported that the staffer who sent the initial email warning said “employees are not dissatisfied with the Affordable Care Act.” But the price hikes are inarguable, and as such, moves are afoot on Capitol Hill to change the designations of “official” staffers to “unofficial,” to allow them to keep their existing subsidized plans.

 

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