MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwired - Jan 27, 2014) - Today eHealth, Inc. (
Many of the consumers looking for and purchasing 2014 health insurance during the nationwide open enrollment period (October 1, 2013 - March 31, 2014) are buying coverage for the first time. But whether they're first-time shoppers or experienced health insurance consumers, a substantial percentage will need and expect to receive expert personal assistance when weighing their options and enrolling in a plan.
Licensed agents like those at eHealth are available today to help American consumers find the coverage they need for 2014. In addition to licensed agents, "navigators" and other government employees working for state and federally-managed health insurance exchanges are also providing assistance to consumers.
"It's important that health insurance shoppers understand the difference between licensed agents and navigators," said Gary Matalucci, Vice President of Customer Care at eHealth, Inc. "Navigators working for government exchanges can help shoppers apply for subsidies and enroll in coverage through a government exchange website. But licensed agents can often do this too -- as well as provide personalized recommendations and support beyond enrollment. Licensed agents can also introduce consumers who may not be using a subsidy to a broader range of coverage options beyond those available through government exchanges alone."
The chart below describes some of the key differences between licensed health insurance agents and government exchange navigators. A version of this chart is available through eHealth's Affordable Care Act Resource Center.
|Licensed Agents vs. Government Exchange Navigators|
|Will they cost you additional money when you enroll in a plan?||No||No|
|Can they help enroll consumers in Medicaid and CHIP?||No||Yes|
|Can they help consumers apply for government subsidies to buy health insurance?||Yes, in certain cases*||Yes|
|Can they help consumers understand health insurance plans sold on a government exchange?||Yes||Yes|
|Do they receive training for the state exchanges they work with?||Yes||Yes|
|Can they recommend a plan based on a person's health care needs and budget?||Yes||No, unless they are also licensed agents|
|Are they required to be licensed by the state in which they do business?||Yes||Not under federal law. Some states require licensure|
|Do they receive criminal background checks before working with consumers?||Yes, in some states. All eHealth agents get background checks.||Not necessarily|
|Can they help a person understand the benefits covered in a plan that is not sold on a government exchange?||Yes||No|
|Do they pass strict licensure exams to demonstrate expertise in the insurance field?||Yes||No|
|Can they advocate for a customer with the insurance company after enrollment?||Yes||No|
* Only agents and brokers who have entered into agreements with government exchanges can help consumers apply for subsidy assistance.
eHealth, Inc. (