Obama signs up for health care, selects ‘bronze’ plan in D.C. exchange

December 23, 2013

President Obama  is driven through the Kailua, Hawaii, neighborhood where he is spending his annual holiday vacation with his family on Dec. 21. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

HONOLULU – President Obama has enrolled in the federal health-care insurance exchanges, selecting a bronze-tiered insurance plan on the D.C. marketplace, the White House announced Monday.

In advance of Monday’s key enrollment deadline, Obama signed up for coverage over the weekend during the start of his holiday vacation here in Hawaii in what a White House official described as a “symbolic” act to promote the Affordable Care Act, his signature legislative achievement.

The president’s health care will continue to be provided by the military, according to a statement distributed to reporters from a White House official who demanded anonymity.

Obama’s premium will be less than $400 a month, but it only covers himself, not his wife, Michelle, nor their daughters, Malia and Sasha, according to a White House official.

Obama will be paying the premium in full himself: His annual salary of $400,000 makes him ineligible for federal subsidies.

Although Obama was involved in selecting a plan, he didn’t sign up himself. The president’s staff did that for him, going in person to the D.C. exchange over the weekend, the White House official said.

"Like some Americans, the complicated nature of the president’s case required an in-person sign-up,” the official said. “As you’d expect, the president’s personal information is not readily available in the variety of government databases HealthCare.gov uses to verify identities.”

Still, the White House official added, Obama “was pleased to participate in a plan as a show of support for these marketplaces which are providing quality, affordable health-care options to more than a million people.”

The deadline for Americans to sign up through the new federal health insurance exchange for health plans that begin Jan. 1 is midnight Monday, although administration officials  have quietly changed the rules to give last-minute shoppers an extra day to enroll.

For weeks, Republicans have pressured Obama to sign up for coverage under his own law – even though some acknowledge that he didn’t need to.

“I’m glad he did it,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said in an interview Monday. “I’m not going to take a cheap shot at him for signing up. It really wasn’t necessary, but if he didn’t do it we would all bark at him.”

Chaffetz added: “He’s the president of the United States. His health care is a little different than the rest of us. We get that.”

This post has been updated.

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Charity Brown | December 23, 2013