Senate staffers told to delay health law signup

With the start of open enrollment just one week away on October 1, staffers in the U.S. Senate are being told to hold off on signing up for health insurance coverage, as details of their coverage plan still hasn’t been finalized by federal officials.

“IMPORTANT Health Insurance Information,” was the subject line of an email sent on Monday afternoon to Senate employees, which detailed how the guidelines for Congressional workers to shift into the new “exchanges” still haven’t been finalized.

“Members and staff are advised that they should delay enrolling in health insurance plans until we are able to offer further guidance as to how they should enroll in these insurance plans for 2014,” read the warning, written in bold face to drive home that point.

Premature enrollment could adversely impact eligibility for the employer premium contribution,” the email warned, referring to the still unfinished details on how Congressional staffers will get their insurance through the exchanges, and still get employer financial aid just like other federal workers.

Here’s the full text of the email sent to U.S. Senate employees on Monday:

Important Notice to All Senate Members, Officers and Employees:

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) contains a provision (Section 1312(d)(3)(D)) that affects the health care coverage of many Senate employees’ beginning in 2014.  On August 8, 2013, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) proposed regulations (which are not final and may be changed) to implement this requirement and establish procedures for affected employees’ enrollment in health insurance plans through the health insurance exchange (the “Marketplace Plans”) under the ACA.  The OPM proposed regulations may be found at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=OPM-2013-0016-0001.    

As the OPM Regulations are not final and we are awaiting further information, Members and staff are advised that they should delay enrolling in health insurance plans until we are able to offer further guidance as to how they should enroll in these insurance plans for 2014.  Premature enrollment could adversely impact eligibility for the employer premium contribution.   

As soon as we have additional information, we will provide that to you.  In the interim, you are welcome to call the Senate Disbursing Office