NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Congress Has Enviable Health Plan

October 6, 1999

When it comes to health-care plans, members of Congress and federal employees have an array of options and can make choices that ordinary workers might well envy.

  • They can enroll themselves and their families in any of a variety of plans -- including several fee-for-service plans, as well as managed care plans and health maintenance organizations.
  • They have the freedom to drop one health plan if they don't care for it and select another -- while employers in the private sector can usually offer only one plan to their employees.

Policy analysts and some members of congress say that Americans in general could benefit from a similar degree of flexibility.

  • Moreover, lawmakers have the luxury of a physician on call at the Capitol, should they need treatment -- and are billed only $290.90 a year.
  • They can also be treated at one of the military hospitals nearby -- with bills forwarded to their health insurance plan.

Members of Congress and federal workers split their plan's costs with the government.

Many federal workers choose to avoid managed care. Last year, 59 percent of all active federal employees were enrolled in traditional fee-for-service plans.

Source: William M. Welch, "Congress Can Avoid Managed Care," USA Today, October 6, 1999.


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