YOU ASK:

What kind of health insurance does the president and the congress receive?

WE ANSWER:

The president and the members of the congress are covered using the Federal Employees Health Insurance Program.

The Federal Employees Health Insurance Program features "managed competition", with private insurance providers, labor unions and other employee associations offering the plans. The plans are sold at a fee, and are available not just for the president and members of the congress, but for all federal employees. The program provides over 300 private health care plans that covers the president, senators, congressmen, down to the janitors who clean the White House.

Now, before you react violently that congressmen and the president enjoy "gold-plated" insurance plans using your tax dollars, this is not actually the case. Members of Congress are also charged with their fair share of the premiums, so that they are not all that different from a federally employed janitor.

If a federal employee chooses to get a "good" plan, then they will also pay for this. (But their portion of the premiums could reach as little as 25% of the total premiums.) What is interesting is that some of those in congress opt to be covered under the insurance plans of their spouses - for the reason that these may offer an even more comprehensive cover or that it may be more cost-effective.

This insurance program is similar to other private insurance plans in that, the plans state:

  • The network of doctors you can see
  • The prescription medications covered
  • Which specialists you can go to
  • Which hospitals you can be specialized
  • What instances may cause your claim to be rejected

However, they do get an excellent set of benefits by virtue of the fact that government employees form a large pool. This enables federal employees to have wider choices.  And, by virtue of the fact that they form a large pool of insureds, there is no waiting periods for most of the plans. That means their insurance protects them immediately.

In addition, the federal government also has its own medical clinic where federal employees can come to get treatment for minor ailments.

The president also has to pay out-of-pocket for any hospital costs, but he usually (along with his family) gets free treatment from an in-house staff.

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