Wait a sec: The OFA volunteer who managed to sign up for ObamaCare hasn't actually signed up yet? Update: Applied, hasn't purchased yet

So says his own father in an interview with Reason’s Peter Suderman.

A committed young Democrat and OFA volunteer wouldn’t fudge the facts to gin up some much-needed good press for The One’s pet program, would he?


Chad’s story was tweeted out by the official Obamacare Twitter feed. It was promoted to the media by Enroll America, a health-care activist group headed by a former White House communications staffer, as a sign of Obamacare’s success. Henderson told reporters at multiple news outlets that after a three-hour wait to sign up online, he enrolled around 3 a.m. Tuesday morning in an unsubsidized private insurance plan that would cost him about $175 a month. He also said that his father enrolled in separate coverage plan that would cost about $250 a month after factoring in the subsidies for which his father qualified on his approximately $24,000 annual income…

Bill Henderson told me that both he and his son were interested in getting coverage, but that they had not enrolled in any plan yet, and to his knowledge, neither had his son. He also said that when they do enroll, getting the most coverage for the least money would be the goal, and that he expects that he and his son will get coverage under the same plan…

Other details from Chad’s story were also difficult to verify. He said his premium was unsubsidized, and cost around $175 a month for the cheapest Bronze coverage plan available. He told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that he got his coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield. But the cheapest unsubsidized Bronze exchange plan at Blue Cross Blue Shield’s online Quick Quote system offers for a 21-year-old in Flintstone, Georgia is $225.09 a month.

Additionally, Chad could not have purchased a separate plan for his father from his own login to HealthCare.gov, the website for the federal exchanges. A customer assistance representative on HealthCare.gov’s LiveChat system told me that purchasing separate plans for a son and a father in Georgia would require two separate logins. Which means that Chad would have had to successfully create two different accounts, and complete enrollment twice, at a time when almost no one was able to get through on the system.


Suderman notes, drily, that Chad Henderson told WaPo that he was sharing his story — which included cc’ing media outlets in his tweets about enrolling to make sure they paid attention — because “I’ve read a few articles about how young people are very critical to the law’s success. I really just wanted to do my part to help out with the entire process.” Could be, of course, that his old man is simply misinformed and that Chad really did sign up, but what are the odds of that given the extent of the media attention over the past 24 hours? At some point Henderson Jr would have dialed up Sr and said, “Hey, I got us enrolled!”, right? In fact, per Bill Henderson, Chad did tell him that “there’s different plans. And we haven’t decided which plans to enroll in yet.”

Also, note the language Chad used when talking about the sign-up process with HuffPo. The use of “we” makes it sound like his dad was there with him in the wee hours waiting for the Healthcare.gov site to load:

“I was excited,” Chad Henderson said in a telephone interview with The Huffington Post Thursday. He had seen on Twitter that the exchanges opened at midnight. “We stood on there until about 3 in the morning,” he said. Chad and his father live in Flintstone, Ga., near the Tennessee border, about 5 miles from Chattanooga…

Even though $175 is a big chunk of his monthly earnings, Chad said the cost is okay.

“I think that it was reasonable to a point,” Chad said. “My dad, on the other hand, thinks that with the price that he’s paying and that we’re paying, we should’ve been offered dental and regular eye exams.”


Dad hasn’t chosen a plan yet, by his own admission. One question: If this is all shenanigans from Chad Henderson designed to give the media a teeny tiny little hook to report good news about ObamaCare’s implementation, why did he say it took him three hours after midnight to sign up and that he was hoping his plan would be a bit cheaper? If you’re going to lie to America to help Bambi out, might as well go the whole nine yards, right? “I enrolled in no time! The coverage was cheaper and more comprehensive than I could have hoped for!” Instead, he seems to be giving the exchanges a solid B+. Why not an A? Also, note that three different insurance companies claim that they *have* successfully enrolled people via the federal ObamaCare website. Enrollment is “meager” due to glitchapalooza, but it’s happening. Chad could be on the level, even if it seems increasingly unlikely. And as for the fact that Chad’s stated premium of $175 a month doesn’t match the rate for someone of his age on the Blue Cross Blue Shield, that could be just another glitch at work. Imagine if that was the sequel to this story: “Chad did enroll! But, er, Healthcare.gov gave him the wrong numbers.”

Somewhere right now, some White House apparatchik is frantically trying to track Henderson down to get to the bottom of this before the inevitable Obama/Chad photo op. Good luck, guys! Oh, and in other ObamaCare news, implementation is now sufficiently embarrassing to the president that his friends at the AP and NPR have conveniently decided that they won’t refer to the program as “ObamaCare” as much in the future. You owe ’em one, champ.


Update: Keep your eye on the ball. This is the real takeaway from this fiasco:

Update: “I have not misled anyone.”

Sarah Kliff: So your dad says you haven’t purchased health insurance.

Chad Henderson: Here’s my response. Most reporters, I’m not calling anyone out especially you, they haven’t had access to the web site. They weren’t very clear as to how the process went. Most people have no understanding that it’s a two step process. One is you fill out an application. It sends you a notification received successfully.

The next step is comparing the prices, comparing all the plans. And that’s when you purchase the plan. I said I enrolled in the marketplace. I never said I chose a specific plan. But the number I gave you, the $175 or $200 or whatever, that is the plan I am choosing. My dad is choosing a different plan. So, enrollment meant that my application was sent and approved. That’s what I meant by enrollment. I have not purchased a specific plan. That’s what’s confusing people.

My dad was right. I have chosen mine. He hasn’t chosen his yet.

Update: Twitter pals are flagging this recent tweet from Henderson himself. Note the word “bought.”



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