Alert
Close

Think you know AARP? What you don’t know about us may surprise you. Discover all the ‘Real Possibilities’

Highlights

Open

most popular
ARTICLES

Viewed

work
PROGRAMS

Best Employers for Workers Over 50

See the latest winners of this AARP recognition program.

Employer Resource Center

Attract and retain top talent in a changing workforce.

What Kind of Benefits Does Congress Really Get?

They're far less lavish than critics claim

How their health care plan works

Members of Congress participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program along with about 8 million federal workers, retirees and their dependents. They are subject to the same rules and receive the same coverage. Compared with health plans offered by private employers, the FEHBP offers more choices — in fact, "the widest selection of health plans in the country," according to the Office of Personnel Management.

Congress members are also eligible for Medicare, and pay the same 1.45 percent tax on their salary as do other workers.

A few extras

Congress members do receive some medical benefits beyond those available to regular federal workers.

For an annual payment of $503, members can receive routine care from the Office of the Attending Physician, which has facilities in the Capitol. ABC News reported last year that these services include physicals and other examinations, on-site X-rays and lab work, physical therapy and referrals to medical specialists.

In addition, current members (but not their dependents) can receive medical and emergency dental care at military hospitals and clinics. Inpatient care is covered by FEHBP insurance, but outpatient care is free if it's performed at facilities in the national capital region, such as Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland or Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the District of Columbia.

This benefit is likely the source of persistent online rumors that all medical care is free for Congress members.

Phil Scott is a New York-based journalist.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Jobs You Might Like

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

UPS

Members get 15% off eligible products/services and 5% off shipping at The UPS Store®.

AARP Discounts on Consumer Cellular Phones and Plans

Members save 5% on monthly service and usage charges with Consumer Cellular.

Member Benefits

Renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Explore Your Learning Possiblities