He won’t use it, and he didn’t actually sign up for it himself, but President Barack Obama has enrolled for health coverage through the new insurance exchanges.
Announcing his enrollment Monday, the White House called it a symbolic show of Obama’s support for the fledgling exchanges where millions of Americans must buy insurance or face a penalty. Ironically, it also served as a reminder of just how complex and sometimes daunting the process can be.
Obama, like so many other Americans, couldn’t use the website.
“The complicated nature of the president’s case required an in-person sign-up,” the White House said.
White House officials noted that for security reasons, the president’s personal information is not readily available in government databases that the exchanges use to verify identities and check eligibility for tax subsidies.
But millions of other Americans have faced website glitches that made signing up through the exchanges difficult or impossible, particularly in the initial weeks before massive fixes to the site were put in place.
As commander in chief, the president receives his health care through the military, so his new coverage will go unused. Rather, the move fulfills a commitment to personally participate that Obama made in 2010, when he signed into law the Affordable Care Act.