Is Obamacare’s celebrity enrollee actually signed up?

October 4, 2013
And so Chadgate begins. (REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi)
And so Chadgate begins. (Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters)

Yesterday, Chad Henderson became a verified Obamacare celebrity. The 21-year-old from Georgia was hounded by reporters after Enroll America identified him as someone who had successfully purchased insurance coverage on HealthCare.Gov (a relatively rare feat right now).

Chad's dad, Bill Henderson, says otherwise. He tells Peter Suderman that he believes Chad has not signed up for health coverage quite yet. Here's one bit of their interview:

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.

Bill told me that Chad had been looking into plans online. “He told me that there’s different plans. And we haven’t decided which plans to enroll in yet.”

I've left a phone message with Chad asking him if he wants to comment on his dad's comments. Chad never told me that his dad had signed up, but did say he enrolled in a plan around 3 a.m.  Tuesday morning. Either somebody is lying, or the Henderson family needs to work on its communication skills.

Update: I spoke with Chad over the phone about this situation. He told me that he has indeed not purchased coverage but doesn't believe he was lying. He said he told reporters that he completed an application for coverage and knows what plan he would like to purchase, but has not, as of yet, enrolled in that insurance plan. Here's a transcript of our conversation.

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.

Sarah Kliff: So let me make sure I understand things right here. You went through the part of the website where you entered in your information and found out what you qualified for, and that's done. And you got to the part where you can compare plans, but you have not purchased a plan?

Chad Henderson: We have not purchased a specific.The application has information and once you submit it, it reviews eligibility. Obviously I'm not eligible for Medicaid because our governor isn't expanding it. And that’s what I meant by enrollment. I had assumed that I never said I purchased a plan or enrolled in marketplace. I’m not backing down on my comments. I have not misled anyone.

Sarah Kliff: I think where a lot of us got confused is you said you had enrolled in a plan when you haven't purchased a health plan. You told us the amount of the premium you were going to pay.

Chad Henderson: I understand that. I was giving you guys a number as to what I’m choosing.

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Dylan Matthews · October 4, 2013