Obama goes for 'bronze' in symbolic health insurance signup

HONOLULU Tue Dec 24, 2013 3:02am IST

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HONOLULU (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama enrolled in a less expensive option offered by his healthcare reform plan in a show of support for the law before a signup deadline Monday, the White House said.

Obama chose an individual "bronze" plan on the Washington, D.C., exchange, at a cost of less than $400 a month - a bargain for a man who earns $400,000 a year running the United States.

Obama will pay the monthly premiums, a spokesman said. But, like other U.S. presidents, he will continue to receive health care from the military, and has a personal physician for himself and his immediate family.

"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 White House said.

Obama and family are vacationing in Hawaii. The president's staff signed Obama up in person through the capital city's exchange, which is known as "DC Health link." Fourteen states also run their own exchanges separate from the federal marketplace as part of the Affordable Care Act.

It was unclear if the White House effort encountered any of the problems that plagued many Americans attempting to obtain health insurance since October on the HealthCare.gov website.

"The complicated nature of the president's case required an in-person sign-up," a spokesman said.

"As you'd expect, the president's personal information is not readily available in the variety of government databases HealthCare.gov uses to verify identities."

Obama promised to sign up for coverage in 2010 after Charles Grassley, a Republican Senator from Iowa and Obamacare opponent, proposed an amendment to the law requiring the president to do so.

Earlier on Monday, the Obama administration extended for an extra day the deadline for Americans to choose health insurance plans on the HealthCare.gov website to ensure coverage starting in January.

(Reporting by Ros Krasny and Suzanne Roig; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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