The 21-year-old Georgia man who was hailed as an Obamacare hero for enrolling in a health insurance plan at the buggy Healthcare.gov website has confirmed to The Daily Caller News Foundation that he has not actually purchased health insurance at all.
Reached for comment, Chad Henderson confirmed a report that he did not get Obamacare insurance — even though he claimed to have done so earlier this week, to great media attention. (Related: HERO! Obamacare Patient Zero says Affordable Care Act site ‘needs to be fixed for sure’)
Henderson said that the confusion stemmed from his lack of understanding that a two-step process was involved in the purchase of Obamacare.
“I did enroll in the exchange by submitting the application,” he said. “It would be so naive of me to apply and purchase on the same day.”
This putative naivety apparently also led Henderson to post a Facebook update claiming in no uncertain terms that both he and his father had enrolled in low-cost insurance.
“Today, on the opening day of ‘ObamaCare,’ me and my dad enrolled in it and got quality, affordable health care insurance for the first time,” Henderson wrote on the site.
But Chad Henderson’s father disclosed Friday that the reports his son had purchased health insurance through the site were incorrect.
“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,” Reason magazine’s Peter Suderman reported.
“He told me that there’s different plans. And we haven’t decided which plans to enroll in yet,” Bill Henderson told Suderman.
The younger Henderson, a part-time teacher, said that the plan he was able to obtain under Obamacare would cost him about $175 a month, or 30 percent of his gross income.
As Suderman reported, it would have been difficult for Chad Henderson to enroll both himself and his father, as he had claimed. “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,” wrote Suderman.
Henderson told The Daily Caller News Foundation he couldn’t remember the exact price of the plans he was considering, but said that the cost fell between $175 and $200. “I saw so many numbers in one night, I was tired.”
Asked by TheDCNF if he’d ever looked into the cost of insurance prior to the Obamacare rollout, Henderson said, “No I did not.”
Henderson also spoke with the Washington Post for a followup story that asked in its title, “Is Obamacare’s celebrity enrollee actually signed up?” The body of the article confirmed that the answer to the rhetorical question was No.
Henderson was initially touted as an Obamacare success story by reporters from The Washington Post, Politico, The Huffington Post and local papers.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius celebrated Henderson’s success on Twitter. The Twitter account @Obamacare — operated by Organizing for Action, a group which advances Obama’s agenda and of which Henderson is a volunteer — circulated Henderson’s story.
Enroll America, another group with ties to the Obama administration also advanced the story.
Henderson also stated on Facebook that he was asked to be a part of a conference call being held by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Though Henderson’s support for Obama and the health insurance program was reported, his close ties to Organizing for America were not. Henderson has volunteered for Organizing for America since 2007.
In a previous exchange with The Daily Caller News Foundation, Henderson acknowledged that the hiccups experienced on the site might hinder its effectiveness.
“Something needs to be fixed on the website for sure,” he told TheDCNF on Thursday.
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