Three days out from the launch of open enrollment season, House aides dubbed “official staff” had the chance to get one-on-one consultations from the four insurance carriers offering them coverage through the District’s health exchange.
Staffers entering the third-floor Longworth office, normally the site of hearings for the House Administration Committee, were handed a thick gold folder stuffed with information on the 112 Gold-level benefit plans available to staffers losing their current federal health coverage in 2014, then invited to pull up a chair and chat with insurance representatives.
In one corner Aetna; in another, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. In a third corner sat Kaiser Permanente with a detailed visual table-top display. Near the door was United Healthcare.
Most were equipped with charts, and some had shiny, plastic-wrapped freebies, such as branded pens, to offer. As a further enticement, a box of doughnut holes and cold, bottled water was placed near the folders.
All four companies, along with employees of the House Chief Administrative Officer’s Payroll and Benefits division, will be setting up for daily open houses through Nov. 15. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., representatives will be on hand to answer questions.
Bye, Bye THOMAS
Say goodbye to THOMAS.gov, congressional wonks.
Beginning Nov. 19, typing the address into a Web browser will automatically redirect users to Congress.gov, the Library of Congress’ new legislative information website.
The free site, launched in beta form in fall 2012, is replacing the nearly 20-year-old site named for Thomas Jefferson.
Users can access bill status and summary, member profiles and bill text plus the Congressional Record, committee reports and direct links from bills to cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. Additionally, they can watch legislative process videos, view committee profile pages and access data reaching back to the 103rd Congress. Nominations, treaties and other communications will soon be added.
THOMAS.gov is being formally retired because the outdated system can no longer handle the 10 million visits the site averages each year. It will remain accessible from the Congress.gov homepage through late 2014. @Thomasdotgov is also disappearing from Twitter. Followers will be transferred to the @Congressdotgov account.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.