Members of Congress now have a unique perspective on the federal Small Business Health Options Program: They work for the only employer in the country that has to get its health coverage from the program.
Members of Congress and many members of their staff must get their coverage from the DC Health Link SHOP exchange.
Some lawmakers voiced frustration with the program today at House hearings on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act implementation.
When Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, appeared at a House Energy & Commerce health subcommittee PPACA hearing, lawmakers asked her a wide range of questions.
Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., for example, asked her how much HHS will have to spend on extra risk management program payments to compensate carriers for the administration’s decision to encourage them to let individuals and small employers continue non-PPACA-compliant health coverage well into 2014.
Sebelius said HHS won’t have any idea how much the rule change will cost until it has more enrollment information.
Other committee members asked her questions based on their own efforts to sign up for coverage.
Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., said his family found its own out-of-pocket costs will go up 117 percent next year.
Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, a medical doctor, complained he wasn’t able to pay for the coverage he bought through HealthCare.gov.
Sebelius said the carriers are responsible for taking payment, and that enrollees can mail payments, too.