Lawmakers enroll in state marketplaces to share constituent experience

Some lawmakers are signing up for their home state's health insurance exchanges before 2014 elections to say they are getting the same health law choices as constituents, reported Politico.

Congress members must decide whether they will obtain their health insurance next year from Washington, D.C.'s exchange or their state marketplace by Dec. 9, when the reform law forces them out of the federal employees plan.

Many vulnerable lawmakers hope moving to the state marketplaces will position themselves as more likeable among voters since the public has expressed displeasure with the healthcare reform law, particularly given the recent snafus with the federal exchange rollout and insurers' cancellation notices, as FierceHealthPayer has previously reported.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), for example, is rejecting the federal government's contribution and enrolling in his home state's exchange, even though Oregon has some of the worst technical issues among state marketplaces. "Sen. Merkley thinks it is important to have the same enrollment experience as other Oregonians and will give up his employer contribution to enroll through Cover Oregon," a spokeswoman told Politico.

Meanwhile, Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) is refusing federal subsidies and signing up for Alaska's federally run exchange. "I want to have the exact same experience and go through the same steps as other Alaskans when it comes to signing up for healthcare," he said.

Other senators are still considering their options. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and his wife are still deciding which exchange to enroll in, although the Senator already created an account with the Delaware exchange to experience of how it functions, Politico reported.

To learn more:
- read the Politico article