Under the Affordable Care Act, members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate and their office staffs who want employer coverage generally have to buy it on the health insurance exchange. Before the law passed in 2010, they were eligible to be covered under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, or FEHB. (People working for congressional committees who are not on a member's office staff may still be covered under FEHB.)
The members of Congress and their staffs choose from among 57 gold plans from four insurers sold on the DC Health Link's small-business marketplace this year. Approximately 11,000 are enrolled, according to Adam Hudson, a spokesman for the exchange. The government pays about three-quarters of the cost of the premium, and workers pay the rest. They aren't eligible for premium tax credits.
For some members of Congress, declining exchange coverage was a political statement.
"There are several who, because of animus to Obamacare, rejected the offer of coverage and either buy on their own or get it through a spouse," said Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at Georgetown University's Center on Health Insurance Reforms.
Proposed bills to replace the ACA do not address this provision of the law, said Timothy Jost, an emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Va., who is an expert on the health law.