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Asked whether he had seen specific plan options yet, Bill said, “No, we haven’t looked over them that discrete yet. But it’s just different plans that he [Chad] has told me we’re going to go with. We’ll have to choose one of them.”
Bill told me that when he does enroll, his focus will be on getting value for money. “Whatever gets the most coverage for the least price,” is what Bill said he’s looking for in a plan.
Bill also said he hoped he’d qualify for subsidies through the health law. But he didn’t know yet if he would. “I’m hoping so,” he told me. “It’s a possibility.” As of yet, however, the pair had not picked a plan or completed enrollment. But he hoped they would shortly. “We’re going to be enrolling, and looking at it, you know, looking over everything. So we’re going to be deciding on what we’re going to do very soon.”
I found Bill's contact information through Chad Henderson's Facebook page. An update on October 1 reads "Enrolled in Obamacare" and links to Bill Henderson's Facebook page. Bill Henderson's Facebook page lists him as "Owner-Operator at Bill's Shaved Ice," and links to a Facebook page for his Shaved Ice stand, which includes a phone number. On the phone, Bill confirmed that he had a 21-year-old son named Chad.
Other details from Chad’s story were also difficult to verify. He said his premium was unsubsidized, and cost around $175 a month for the cheapest Bronze coverage plan available. He told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that he got his coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield. But the cheapest unsubsidized Bronze exchange plan at Blue Cross Blue Shield’s online Quick Quote system offers for a 21-year-old in Flintstone, Georgia is $225.09 a month.
Additionally, Chad could not have purchased a separate plan for his father from his own login to HealthCare.gov, the website for the federal exchanges. A customer assistance representative on HealthCare.gov’s LiveChat system told me that purchasing separate plans for a son and a father in Georgia would require two separate logins. Which means that 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.
Chad seems to have sought out media attention for his story. He first said he had enrolled in coverage on the evening of October 1, in a tweet that also included the Twitter handles of local news organizations Times Free Press and WRCB.
That tweet was later referenced by OFA’s Tennessee branch, and the @Obamacare Twitter feed. Enroll America's digital director, Adam Stalker, noticed the Tweet and asked on Twitter whether Enroll America could share Chad's story. Chad excitedly charted the ensuing media attention on his Facebook page.
"The response to my story from earlier in the week has been overwhelming!," he wrote in a Facebook update last night. "Here's an update: I've now been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Chattanooga Times Free Press, The Huffington Post, Enroll America, and POLITICO!!"
Chad Henderson's story was picked up by the national media because of how difficult it was to find individual stories of successful enrollment in the federal health exchanges during the initial days of enrollment. It appears that reporters may have to keep looking.
Update (2.54pm ET): Washington Post reporter Sarah Kliff writes that she "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." Read more here.