President Barack Obama symbolically enrolled in a new health insurance exchange created by the Affordable Care Act over the weekend, a White House aide said Monday.
The news comes on the final day to sign-up for health insurance that takes effect on Jan. 1, though both state and federal exchanges will allow enrollments through the end of March. According to the aide, Obama enrolled in a Bronze-level plan in the Washington, D.C.-based exchange. News of the Obama sign-up was first reported by April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks.
But Obama’s move is only symbolic, because as president he receives coverage from military physicians of the White House Medical Unit.
“Over the weekend and in advance of today’s deadline, the President enrolled in a health care plan made available by the Affordable Care Act on the DC marketplace,” the aide said. “As you all know, the President is one of the 85 percent of Americans who gets his health insurance through his employer and, like previous Presidents, is privileged to receive health care from the military. The act of the President signing up for insurance coverage through the DC exchange is symbolic since the President’s health care will continue to be provided by the military. But, he 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 President selected a bronze plan.”
The aide added that Obama only signed himself up, and not the rest of the First Family. Obama also did not enroll through the troubled Healthcare.gov or the D.C. exchange’s website. Aides signed him up in person over the weekend, due to the “complicated nature of the President’s case,” the White House aide said. Some of Obama’s personal information is not readily accessible on the government databases used by the website for identity verification.
According to the D.C. Health Link website, a Bronze-level plan would cost the president between $263.62 and $367.39 per month, depending on the specific plan he selected.
In 2010, as Republicans sought to obligate Obama to participate in the exchanges, the White House said Obama would do so voluntarily.
“The president will participate in the exchange,” then-White House spokesman Reid Cherlin told USA Today.
This post has been updated with comment from a White House aide.