It’s almost as if there are a different set of rules for the ruling class in Washington than there is for the peasants out there. Oh, because there is.
This year, members of Congress and thousands of their staffers are finally signing up for health insurance provided by an ObamaCare exchange, fulfilling their commitment to live under the same system that millions of other Americans will use.
But unlike those millions of Americans, members and staff have a way to opt out of ObamaCare — retirement.
Under a rule issued by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) late last year, members and staff who retire will be able to revert back to health coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). That’s the same coverage that thousands of other federal workers can use when they retire.
The FEHBP lets government retirees choose from a range of options, including health savings accounts, PPOs or HMOs. And none of it has anything to do with ObamaCare.
OPM had not included a retirement escape clause in its August draft of the rule on congressional coverage. But this flexibility was added in its October 2 final rule, after “numerous commenters” called on OPM to reconsider.
OPM ultimately agreed with those commenters, and said that when read closely, the law only applies to members and staff “while they are employed in those positions.”
A February 18 report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) puts it plainly. “[T]he final rule allows members and designated congressional staff who are eligible for retirement to enroll in a FEHBP plan upon retirement,” CRS summarized.
You know who still hasn’t signed up for ObamaCare? The guys it’s named after.