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billjam asks,

I keep hearing how great the federal employee program is. Have a couple questions. First, does Congress ever worry about how much it costs? They've suddenly become cost conscious when it comes to the rest of us, but what about their own plan? Second, does the program pay whatever is billed or a preset amount for each treatment?


Congress has the exact same plan as any other Federal worker in DC. They get to choose among about 40 plans. Enter the zipcode 20011 at the following link:

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus had to have emergency brain surgery after a fall and went to the Mayo Clinic rather than one of the local snake charmers near his home in Montana. He was surprised when he got a bill for thousands of dollars, since the Mayo Clinic was "out-of-network" for his health plan. So Senators and Congressmen do have to worry about cost and what hospital they go to just like everyone else.

His interest in the health care issue is not new. In 2003, as Mr. Baucus was running a 50-mile ultramarathon, he lost his footing and tumbled, gashing open his head. He got up and kept running to the finish.

Two months later, Mr. Baucus needed emergency brain surgery to stop bleeding caused by the fall. The surgery was done at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., which is known for delivering high-quality care at a moderate cost. But it was also done out of network, leaving Mr. Baucus with thousands of dollars in bills not covered by his gold-plated federal health insurance plan.


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