House official presses OPM on Obamacare

House official presses OPM on Obamacare
By: Seung Min Kim
December 5, 2013 06:31 PM EST
The House’s chief administrative officer is urging the Office of Personnel Management to take “immediate steps” to ensure lawmakers and aides can get enrolled under Obamacare despite the myriad glitches they’ve endured as they’ve tried to sign up.

Dan Strodel wrote in a message sent Thursday evening that he is well aware of the struggles that people have faced with the D.C. exchange, where members of Congress and qualifying aides will enroll for their coverage.

“With the end of the open enrollment period drawing near, we have made the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and DC Health Link aware of the significant problems preventing Members and staff in Washington D.C. and in district offices from enrolling in a healthcare plan via the DC Health Link website,” Strodel wrote in the email obtained by POLITICO.

“We are urging OPM to take immediate steps to ensure that all Members and designated staff have the opportunity to enroll in a DC Health Link plan and receive confirmation of that enrollment upon completion of the process,” Strodel continued.

Strodel also told lawmakers and aides in the email that their current plan under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program will continue through Jan. 31, 2014. Under Obamacare, they are required to purchase plans through the Obamacare exchanges starting Jan. 1, but the FEHB program allows its beneficiaries to stay on their plans for one month after the coverage has been cancelled.

In one of its latest technical problems, the website for D.C. Health Link was down for maintenance earlier Thursday – the same time that staffers for the exchange were in a Senate office building, trying to help aides sign up.

Jennifer Haberkorn contributed to this report.

CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to reflect the reasons why the Federal Employee Health Benefits program will run through Jan. 31, 2014.


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