Insurance

WASH: Lawmakers get 24/7 Access To Doctor for $503 per year — i.e. concierge medicine anyone?

Since 2009, Congress Members pay a flat, annual fee of $503 for all the healthcare they receive. PLUS, the annual fee has rarely changed since 1992. Members of Congress do not pay for the individual services they receive at the OAP, nor do they submit claims through their federal employee health insurance policies. The rest of the cost of their care is paid for by federal funding, from the U.S. Navy budget.

Orginally Published on: Dec 12, 2009 @ 18:30

Lawmakers get bounty of benefits
AJC Exclusive: Closer look at pay and perks for members of Congress

By Bob Keefe | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Washington, D.C. — They help determine how much of our paycheck we take home, how we pay for our retirement, and perhaps soon, how we get our health care. So what about members of Congress?

Other Health Benefits

There are other health benefits that come with high office, however. Members of Congress get free VIP treatment at military hospitals. When Republican U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Coweta County was suffering from kidney stones earlier this year, for instance, he was rushed to Bethesda Naval Hospital — and he probably didn’t have to wait in line at the emergency room.

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For a nominal fee, senators and representatives can also join the congressional gym, open only to members and former members.

One of the most unusual perks may come from the Office of the Attending Physician of the United States Congress. For an annual fee of $503, House and Senate members can designate the official congressional physician to be their primary care doctor — meaning they never have to leave Capitol Hill, deal with crowded doctor’s offices or be subject to the same type of care from a doctor as the rest of us.

The service is optional, however. Among the 435 members of the U.S. House, 141 signed up for the service this year [2009].

Health Insurance

Congress has taken heat for having health insurance that’s better than most Americans. Republican U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey of Marietta, among others, has gone as far as to suggest that members of Congress should be kicked out of their current generous insurance plans and be automatically enrolled into any sort of “pubic option” plan Congress may ultimately pass.

But the fact is, senators and representatives have the same health insurance plan choices as any other federal employee.

One of the most popular government plans is from Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

For an individual, the “standard plan” costs $175.08 per month, with the government contributing an additional $363.16. There is a $20 co-pay for doctor’s office visits, and medications cost $10 for generics.

For a family, the monthly premium for the standard Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan is $235.98 per month, with the government paying $707.95. It comes with a $25 co-pay. Generic medications also are $10.

9:08 a.m. Thursday, November 26, 2009

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