MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwired - Jun 18, 2014) - Today eHealth, Inc. (
"Despite the enrollment successes of the Affordable Care Act's 2014 open enrollment period, a lot of consumers today are still uninsured," said Robert Hurley, Senior Vice President of Sales and Operations for eHealth. "If they can't get coverage through an employer and don't experience a qualifying life event allowing them to purchase coverage outside of open enrollment, they may be interested in alternative coverage options. While fixed-benefit indemnity plans do not provide comprehensive coverage, these products can provide consumers with a layer of protection against the costs associated with routine medical care."
An eHealth analysis of fixed-benefit indemnity plans offered through the company's website reports an average monthly premium of $112.98 for fixed-benefit indemnity plans*. The coverage offered through fixed-benefit indemnity health insurance products may be summarized by the following:
- Fixed-benefit indemnity medical plans provide set benefits, typically in the form of a cash payout, to help cover services such as doctor's visits, urgent care, x-rays, prescription drugs (in some cases), and certain hospital expenses.
- These products typically do not require policy holders to meet an annual deductible, but will not provide coverage beyond specified caps. Lifetime coverage limits may also apply.
- Benefits are typically paid directly to the policy holder who may then apply that amount to cover a portion of his or her medical expenses.
According to guidelines issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, fixed-benefit indemnity plans will no longer be available for purchase as a stand-alone product beginning in 2015, which means that consumers will only be able to purchase fixed-benefit indemnity plans to supplement their major medical coverage.
These plans are not available in all states at this time. eHealth is currently offering fixed-benefit indemnity plans in the states of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. Offerings in additional states may be added in the future.
Fixed-benefit indemnity medical plans do not comply with the coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). They do not provide certain benefits which the ACA requires of major medical health insurance plans, and consumers who purchase these products may still be subject to a tax penalty on their 2014 federal tax return. Nonetheless, these products can provide a degree of protection for consumers who may otherwise be uninsured until the next open enrollment period. Fixed-benefit indemnity plans may also be attractive to consumers earning too much to qualify for government subsidies but who feel that they cannot afford major medical health insurance and want some layer of protection.
In order to help consumers compare the different types of supplemental health insurance plans available outside of open enrollment, eHealth has created an infographic that outlines the similarities and differences between fixed-benefit indemnity health insurance plans, short-term health insurance plans and other kinds of insurance products. The infographic is available for download through the eHealth Media Center.
eHealth recommends that consumers interested in fixed-benefit indemnity plans speak with a licensed agent, like those available through eHealthInsurance.com, to learn more about how these may meet their personal coverage needs, and to fully understand their limitations.
* As reported in eHealth's Supplemental Health Insurance Products Inventory Report, published in June 2014, and based on monthly premiums for a 29-year-old applicant in the following cities: Phoenix, Arizona; Denver, Colorado; Miami and Tampa, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Minneapolis, Minnesota; St Louis, Missouri; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Cleveland, Ohio; Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Nashville, Tennessee; Dallas and Houston, Texas; and Richmond, Virginia.
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