Economics, Health Care

BREAKING: Senate staff warned they may not be covered on Jan. 1

Image Credit: shutterstock

Image Credit: shutterstock

In Monday’s Washington Post, I wrote about how many Americans think they have signed up for Obamacare when they really have not — because the federal and state websites are sending erroneous information to insurers.

Well, it turns out that those who may mistakenly believe they have enrolled in Obamacare include US senators and their staffs.

Just a few moments ago, the senate disbursing office sent out an urgent mass email to all senate staff warning them not to trust any confirmation they received from the DC health exchange (DCHL).

“Do NOT rely on your ‘My Account’ page or other correspondence from DCHL” for confirmation that you are covered, the email warns staffers. They are advised to come to the disbursing office immediately to see if they have a physical confirmation letter. “If we do NOT have a Confirmation Letter for you, YOU ARE NOT ENROLLED and will not have health insurance next year,” the email explains.

Staffers who failed to get coverage must send an email to the DC exchange requesting permission to apply again during a “special enrollment period” after the deadline. They will then be given a chance to try again.

Unfortunately, most Americans who mistakenly believe they have enrolled in Obamacare did not get a similar warning message from the Senate Disbursing Office. They cannot come down to the Hart Senate Office Building and check if they have a confirmation letter. And they do not have access to a “special enrollment period” that allows them to apply after the deadline.

Here is the full text of the email:

From: PAY&BENEFITS (Disbursing)

Sent: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 12:30 PM

Subject: DCHL Enrollment Confirmation Required – Special Enrollment

Importance: High

This is a mass email sent to all Senate staff.

It is specifically intended for employees who elected DCHL Health Coverage or who ATTEMPTED to elect DCHL Health Coverage

Read entire message.

At this time, the Disbursing Office has received Confirmation Letters for ALL Senate employees who successfully enrolled in DCHL. If you have not already done so, it is essential that you CONFIRM your coverage in DCHL through the Disbursing Office.  (Do NOT rely on your “My Account” page or other correspondence from DCHL.)

To Confirm your DCHL Coverage (if you have not already done so):

DC area staff: You may pick up a copy in the Disbursing Office, SH-127 (bring your Senate ID). (We do NOT have the ability to email a copy to you!)

State staff: You may request a copy be emailed to your Senate email address by calling (202) 224-3207 or emailing “Provide DCHL Confirmation” and your official name to: [email protected] (Again, we will NOT email copies to local staff.)

If we have a Confirmation Letter for you, you are enrolled effective January 1, 2014 and no further action is required.

If we do NOT have a Confirmation Letter for you, YOU ARE NOT ENROLLED and will not have health insurance next year unless you take the following action.
ASAP, but No Later Than December 16th:

•         Send an email to [email protected]
•         include your Full Name, DOB, Office, Senate email Address; and
•         whichever statement is applicable: “I was unable to enroll in DCHL due to

Technical Difficulties”, or “I enrolled in DCHL, but there is no Confirmation for me”; or another single sentence as applicable.

•         After submitting this email, you will receive “Special Enrollment Period” information as follows.

OPM regulations and policy provide authority to employing offices to facilitate post-Open Season enrollments for individuals who are not able to enroll for reasons beyond their control.

If, during Open Season, you took steps to enroll in DCHL, but were not successfully enrolled and confirmed, AND you notify the Disbursing Office of this by December 16th, you will be provided with a “Special Enrollment Period” to enroll through the DCHL, with a January 1, 2014 effective date of coverage.

If you make the appropriate email notification, detailed Special Enrollment Period information, including dates for this enrollment period, will be mailed to your home address.

Please DO NOT ASSUME you are covered unless you have seen the Confirmation Letter from the Disbursing Office!

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4 thoughts on “BREAKING: Senate staff warned they may not be covered on Jan. 1

  1. I’m totally confused … along with 100 million or so of my closest friends. Why does ANYONE need to go to an exchange [state or federal] for insurance? Call up a friggin’ agent. Go online to any insurance company and apply. What did people do before OC?

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