Ask Laz: Do Congress members get Medicare? Yes -- and a whole lot more
William wants to know: “Do members of Congress over 65 get Medicare?”
Short answer: Yup. But that’s not all.
Under the Affordable Care Act, Congress members obtain health insurance through an online exchange, just like others who aren’t covered by a plan from their employer or spouse.
All federal employees, including Congress members, pay the same payroll taxes as other workers for Medicare Part A coverage, and they’re eligible when they turn 65 to enroll in Medicare Part B, Part C and Part D.
But there’s a sweetener for Congress members.
The Affordable Care Act stipulates that ordinary people aren’t eligible for coverage through the exchanges if they’re also covered by Medicare. That rule doesn’t apply to Congress members.
According to the federal Office of Personnel Management, Congress members “can continue to have Medicare coverage in addition to your employer-sponsored DC Health Link plan. The DC Health Link plan will be your primary coverage and Medicare will be secondary.”
In other words, more coverage.
Congress members also enjoy a sweet perk while in office -- access to the Office of the Attending Physician, a Capitol Hill clinic tasked with maintaining the well-being of lawmakers.
For only about $600 a year, Congress members are able to receive “routine care” such as X-rays, lab work and physical therapy, plus any urgent care required. They also have access to military hospitals.
Then there’s the congressional pension. Unlike nearly everyone in the private sector -- except many chief executives -- Congress members who have been in office at least five years are eligible for a pension once they turn 62.
The annual pension can start at 80% of the member’s final salary and rise from there with cost-of-living adjustments.
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