Health Insurance Subsidy For Congress Raises Questions - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Health Insurance Subsidy For Congress Raises Questions

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WMDT 47 News - Just days in, the Affordable Care Act is already raising major questions, like "will members of Congress getting special treatment when it comes to their government issued health insurance?"

Documents obtained by WMDT, which are now in the hands of all congressional leaders states Members of Congress and their designated staff will be required to enroll in an Obamacare exchange, yet retain at least some portion of their employer paid benefits and contributions, which raises concerns about congress receiving special privileges under the Affordable Care Act.

Insurance Agent Chris Keen says "the federal employer health benefit program used to pay 75 percent [of insurance premiums], and the intention until [October 1st], was that they would keep receiving that 75 percent contribution."

After a vote on September 30th, members of Congress and designated staff now have to enroll in the Small Business Health Option Program, known as "SHOP," an affordable care option.

Keeen says, "the the SHOP was established to enable employers to offer insurance to their employees and at the same time be eligible for a federal tax credit," an option not available to most other businesses, or their employees.

Some may question if Congress should even qualify, since legislators earn $174,000 salaries.  But on average, Congressional staffers make about $30,000, making this benefit seem almost necessary in order to get by.

However, the topic is debatable.  Brenda Parker of Ocean City says "I think they should pay the same amount that everybody else pays."

Members of congress are also being required to enroll at the "Gold" level, one of the higher coverage tiers, but that same memo sent to Congress also states that members and their staff do have the option of not receiving Government contribution.

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