Senate Starts Bringing Staffers Up to Speed on Health Exchanges

Posted November 12, 2013 at 1:17pm

The Senate offered staffers their first opportunity to interact with DC Health Link representatives Tuesday morning, one day into the four-week open enrollment period.

Advice was limited to how to create an account on the site and confront any technical glitches on the District’s health insurance marketplace. Staffers were invited to drop in at any point during the three-hour session with enrollment questions or problems, but those seeking one-on-one guidance on which of the 112 “gold” plans to choose were out of luck.

Representatives “will not be able to answer questions specific to plan details or coverage,” notices for the event warned.

Flyers printed with phone numbers and web addresses for the four insurance carriers offering plans sat atop a folding table outside the door to the Capitol Visitor Center meeting room where the event was held.

On Nov. 19, Senate staffers will be briefed on DC Health Link in a presentation similar to the one the House held on Nov. 7. The briefing, scheduled for a Judiciary Committee hearing room in the Hart Senate Office Building, will include a demonstration of the website, presentations from the insurance carriers and a short question-and-answer period.

The presentation will be recorded and posted to the Senate’s internal website, according to the office of the secretary of the Senate.

Three more support sessions are scheduled for Senate staffers — one per week during the open enrollment period. The final session is scheduled for Dec. 3 in Hart and coincides with a health benefits fair that includes representatives from Aetna, CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, Kaiser Permanente and United Healthcare.

The House is hosting similar health benefit fairs each day this week in the Longworth building.