UPDATED: U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan plans to sign up for health insurance on the North Carolina market under the Affordable Care Act, her office confirmed Monday.
The law includes a section that requires members of Congress and their staff to purchase health insurance on the marketplaces that the law set up. Hagan will give up an employer contribution because she has decided to get her insurance on the North Carolina marketplace, not the D.C. one.
Hagan’s staff says it wasn’t a new decision, just one that hadn’t been flagged previously.
“As an elected official representing North Carolina, it’s important that I have the same health care experience and plan options as North Carolinians, which is why I am signing up for health care through the North Carolina exchange,” Hagan said by email on Monday.
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Hagan previously has expressed frustration over the problems people in the state have had using the HealthCare.gov website to shop for insurance. The White House has said it’s trying to get the site working properly for most people by the end of the month. The website was plagued with technical problems that kept many people nationwide from being able to use it in the weeks after it went live on Oct. 1.
“I will continue efforts to hold insurance companies accountable and make this work better for North Carolinians so they can access the website to get the care they deserve and get the answers they deserve on why this site was not ready to roll from day one,” Hagan added on Monday.
North Carolina Republicans, who are working to defeat Hagan in next year’s Senate race, claimed in a press release issued Monday that the Democratic senator from Greensboro only decided to sign up for insurance when the state GOP put pressure on her.
Hagan spokeswoman Sadie Weiner said on Monday: “The North Carolina Republican Party has shown yet again that they are more interested in taking political shots than trying to make this law work better. While Kay is working to get answers and fix this to ensure North Carolinians can access the website and shop for coverage, all of her opponents are marching in lockstep with the special interests who want to take us back to a time when health insurance companies could drop you if you got sick and charge women more than men for coverage.”
Republican Sen. Richard Burr plans to purchase insurance through the D.C. exchange, in line with a rule set by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Burr spokesman Robert Reid said.