MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwired - Dec 19, 2013) - Almost three months into the Affordable Care Act's first open enrollment period, eHealth, Inc. (
"eHealth is currently offering the largest available inventory of 2014 health insurance plans available for customers to enroll in online -- without a subsidy -- of any marketplace or exchange in the country," said Gary Lauer, Chairman and CEO of eHealth. "However, we believe all Americans, including those who need a subsidy, deserve to have choices when they shop for health insurance, and their experience should be simple, stable and secure."
Lauer continued, "Since early December we've helped a limited number of customers use their subsidies to enroll in a health insurance plan through our web-broker entity (WBE) integration with healthcare.gov. However, the consumer experience is not yet a stable, easy to use and scalable solution for the general public. To achieve the Federal government's enrollment objectives, it is clear to us that a better solution through the Federal government to enroll subsidy-eligible individuals needs to be supported and accommodated quickly. We have offered to help to get this done -- we need Secretary Sebelius to make it a priority."
The first-ever nationwide open enrollment period for individual and family health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) began October 1, 2013 and will last through March 31, 2014. An important milestone date for many consumers is December 23, 2013, the deadline for enrolling on the Federal exchange in ACA-compliant plans effective January 1, 2014. To provide consumers with the broadest selection of plans and the best online health insurance enrollment experience, eHealth has delivered the following:
Over 2,300 New Obamacare plans: eHealth currently has over 2,300 health insurance plans from 100 insurers nationwide that can be purchased directly on eHealthInsurance.com, without a subsidy or a connection to healthcare.gov. Once the company rolls out its WBE capability to all consumers, eHealth expects to have over 1,200 qualified health plans available for online enrollment, with a subsidy, from 59 insurers. In total, the company has added over 3,500 ACA-compliant plans to its online marketplace since October 1.
Over 450 New Website Enhancements and Product Features: As an ecommerce leader, eHealth constantly gathers consumer feedback and tests new features and functionality to deliver the best consumer experience. Since October 1, the company has released 450 new website enhancements and product features -- with zero downtime for website visitors. These enhancements and features include:
- An anonymous window-shopping feature for qualified health plans in the 36 states supported by the Federal exchange;
- An improved side-by-side product comparison tool for consumers to review key benefits and plan details;
- A broker staffed pro-active chat feature to aid customers in reviewing and choosing a plan;
- An individualized shopping experience designed for efficiency and ease of use;
- Updates and optimizations to the company's subsidy calculator; and
- A tablet-optimized shopping flow for the growing number of tablet users.
Enrollment options during Open Enrollment: In early October, eHealth began allowing customers in the states supported by the Federal health insurance exchange (healthcare.gov) to estimate their potential eligibility for a subsidy and preview qualified health plans. Those who determined that they may qualify for a subsidy were given the option to save a plan of interest and be notified by email when they would be able to use their subsidy to enroll through eHealthInsurance.com.
In early December, eHealth was able to enroll a small number of subsidy-eligible customers, using its web-based integration with healthcare.gov. While the company was able to complete these enrollments, the integrated user experience did not meet eHealth's standards for stability and usability. Because of this, eHealth is currently not enrolling subsidy-eligible consumers in qualified health plans and will not until these standards are met. The company is actively documenting and working closely with the federal government to address these issues, but because they lie outside of the eHealth domain, it cannot control the timeline for resolution. Additionally, the company cannot ensure that these issues will be resolved in any specific timeframe. The company is currently notifying subsidy-eligible consumers and advising them to consider other options if they want coverage under a new reformed plan to begin by January 1, 2014.
These options may include the following:
- Consumers eligible for a subsidy who need coverage by January 1, 2014: Consumers who believe they are subsidy eligible, and who wish to enroll in a qualified health plan for coverage beginning January 1, 2014, should visit their state's health insurance exchange and enroll on or before December 23, 2013.
- Consumers with flexible coverage dates: Consumers who do not need coverage to begin on January 1, 2014 and who currently have health insurance coverage can hold on to their existing coverage as long as their health insurance company allows. Note that open enrollment continues through March 31, 2014. When they decide they are ready to enroll in a new, fully-reformed health plan, they can come back and shop from a large selection of options at ehealthinsurance.com.
- Consumers who are not eligible for a subsidy: For those who are not eligible for a government subsidy, eHealth offers a broad selection of health care reform-compliant 2014 plans in which they can enroll. Consumers can shop for these plans without subsidies today at ehealthinsurance.com.
- Consumers concerned about maintaining their provider network: If keeping your doctor or physician network is most important to them, eHealth recommends that consumers review all the options in their area, across subsidy or non-subsidy-eligible plans. Consumers can shop for plans without subsidies today at ehealthinsurance.com.
- Consumers who want to stay with their current insurer: eHealth recommends that consumers who place high priority on retaining coverage with favorite brand-name insurance company review all their options, across subsidy or non-subsidy-eligible plans. Some insurance companies do not offer plans on government exchanges, but may offer plans on ehealthinsurance.com.
- Consumers who want coverage to begin prior to 2014: Consumers who are looking for health insurance coverage that takes effect in 2013 may be able to find plans in their area through eHealth. These plans will not meet all the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, but may meet many consumers' personal needs. Consumer can shop for 2013 plans today at ehealthinsurance.com.
- Consumers who need additional coverage: If they are looking for other forms of supplemental coverage such as short-term, dental, vision insurance, eHealth also offers a large selection of these plans. Consumers can shop for supplemental coverage today at ehealthinsurance.com.
To learn more about open enrollment and the Affordable Care Act, visit eHealth's ACA Resource Center at www.ehealthinsurance.com/affordable-care-act.
eHealth, Inc. (
For more health insurance news and information, visit the eHealth consumer blog: Get Smart - Get Covered.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding eHealth's online enrollment process with the Federal health insurance exchange and the capabilities of this process; eHealth's ability to enroll individuals in subsidy-eligible, qualified health plans; the number of plans eHealth expects to have available for online enrollment (and the timing of such availability) and the anticipated number of insurers from whom these plans would be available; and the timing and duration of the open enrollment period. These forward-looking statements involve certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in such forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, eHealth's ability to maintain its relationships with insurance carriers; insurance carriers gaining approval to market health plans and providing eHealth permission to display them on eHealth's website; eHealth's ability to obtain health plan information and incorporate it into its web platform; potential changes to the Affordable Care Act and related government programs and processes; the Federal government's willingness and capability to resolve issues with eHealth's integration with healthcare.gov; eHealth's ability to successfully integrate with healthcare.gov; actual demand for subsidy-eligible, qualified health plans; political opposition to the implementation and funding of the Affordable Care Act and eHealth's ability to timely meet the applicable requirements and potential changes in laws, regulations and regulatory guidance. Other risks and uncertainties that can affect actual results are included under the captions "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" in eHealth's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012 and most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, which are on file with the SEC and are available on the investor relations page of eHealth's website at http://www.ehealthinsurance.com and on the Securities and Exchange Commission's website at www.sec.gov. All information provided in this press release is as of the date of this press release, and we undertake no duty to update this information unless required by law. In addition, any discussion of aspects of the Affordable Care Act and related regulations are merely summaries, are not complete and are qualified by reference to the Affordable Care Act.
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