eHealthInsurance Releases Tips to Help Consumers Navigate the "Gap Year" Before 2014 Health Reform Provisions Take Effect

eHealthInsurance Releases Tips to Help Consumers Navigate the "Gap Year" Before 
2014 Health Reform Provisions Take Effect 
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 02/05/13 --  Today eHealth, Inc.
(NASDAQ: EHTH) (eHealthInsurance.com), America's first and largest
private online health insurance exchange, released tips to help
American consumers -- insured and uninsured alike -- understand their
coverage options and responsibilities this year. 
In the multi-year roll-out of federal health care reform, 2013 has
been described as a "gap year." A number of the Affordable Care Act's
consumer-focused provisions were made effective between 2010 and
2012, but the last major provisions of the law -- and those which may
have the greatest impact on consumers -- do not come into effect
until January 2014. These include: 


 
--  The Individual Mandate -- This is the requirement that most Americans
    without employer-based health insurance purchase coverage for
    themselves.
--  The Employer Mandate -- This requires employers with fifty or more
    full-time workers (or the equivalent in part-time workers) to provide
    employer-based group health insurance for employees.
--  Guaranteed Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions -- Starting in January
    2014, no one may be declined health insurance coverage due to the
    presence of pre-existing medical conditions.
--  Subsidies to Make Health Insurance More Affordable -- Government
    subsidies will help many people earning less than 400% of the federal
    poverty level afford individually-purchased health insurance.

  
In order to help consumers better understand their options during this
gap year -- before the above provisions of health reform come into
effect -- eHealth has compiled the following five tips: 
Gap Year Health Insurance Tips 
Don't wait until 2014 to get health insurance. If you're currently
uninsured, it might be tempting to wait out the next several months
until January 2014, when subsidies may be available to help you
afford coverage and you can no longer be declined due to pre-existing
medical conditions. But going uninsured, even for a few months, can
be a big -- and costly -- mistake. A single visit to the emergency
room or an overnight stay in the hospital can cost you thous
ands of
dollars. Health insurance limits your liability for medical costs and
can help you avoid medical-related bankruptcy. Health insurance
coverage purchased in 2014 will not help you pay for medical bills
incurred in 2013. 
Get creative to get covered this year. When looking for health
insurance, consider an individual or family health insurance plan
first. Work with a licensed agent like eHealthInsurance.com, the best
place to compare and apply for health insurance online, to find the
right match for your needs and budget. Individual and family plans
are paid for on a month-to-month basis and may be canceled at any
time. If you don't qualify for coverage due to a pre-existing medical
condition, a 2010 provision of the health reform law strengthened
state high-risk pools and pre-existing condition plans. Learn more
about these options through your state department of insurance or
pcip.gov. If standard individual coverage or pre-existing condition
coverage isn't an option for you, look into short-term health
insurance, accident or critical illness coverage. These products
don't provide the richer benefits you may get from a traditional
health insurance plan, but they can provide a layer of protection in
case of serious illness, accident or hospitalization. 
Expect better benefits, and maybe higher prices. Since the Affordable
Care Act was signed into law in 2010, health insurance plans have
started covering more preventive care and women's health care
services with no out-of-pocket cost, and lifetime coverage limits no
longer exist for most services. Expect benefits to improve in the
next year, too, as coverage for things like maternity care becomes
standard, but keep in mind that higher benefits may also mean higher
monthly premiums. No one can say exactly what your health insurance
costs will look like in 2014, but unless you qualify for subsidies,
you may face an increase in what you pay for monthly premiums. Start
budgeting for that possibility now, and consider opening a
tax-advantaged Health Savings Account if your current health plan is
qualified for use with one. 
Know if you'll qualify for subsidies in 2014. If you buy your own
insurance today, or there is a chance you could lose your
employer-based coverage next year, it's a good idea to know if you
will qualify for government subsidies to help you pay for your own
health insurance. Beginning in 2014, federal subsidies will b
e made
available to individuals and families earning less than 400% of the
federal poverty level (about $45,000 per year for a single person, or
$92,000 for a family of four, in 2012 dollars). Depending on your
income, these subsidies will limit your health insurance premiums to
between 3% and 9.5% of your annual income.  
Don't assume health reform won't affect you. If you have
employer-based coverage, you may think you won't be affected by
health reform next year. Companies with fifty or more full-time
workers will be required to provide health insurance in 2014 or face
penalties. However, these penalties are substantially less costly
than actually providing health insurance. Knowing that their
employees can no longer be declined individually-purchased health
insurance due to pre-existing medical conditions, some companies may
opt to pay the penalty rather than provide coverage. Small companies
(who won't face penalties in 2014) may also get out of the health
insurance business and send employees to find coverage on their own. 
Additional Consumer Resources:  


 
--  Download or request a FREE printed copy of our book, Individual Health
    Insurance For Dummies, Health Care Reform Special Edition, produced in
    cooperation with For Dummies(R), a branded imprint of Wiley, and
    co-authored by eHealthInsurance
--  Follow eHealthInsurance's consumer blog, Get Smart - Get Covered
--  Browse our answers to real-life consumer health insurance questions on
    Yahoo Answers
--  Follow eHealthInsurance on Facebook and Twitter

  
About eHealth
 eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) is the parent company of
eHealthInsurance, America's first and largest private health
insurance exchange where individuals, families and small businesses
can compare health insurance products from leading insurers side by
side and purchase and enroll in coverage online. eHealthInsurance
offers thousands of individual, family and small business health
plans underwritten by more than 180 of the nation's leading health
insurance companies. eHealthInsurance is licensed to sell health
insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Through the
company's eHealthTechnology solution (www.eHealthTechnology.com),
eHealth is also a leading provider of health insurance exchange
technology. eHealthTechnology's exchange platform provides a suite of
hosted e-commerce solutions that enable health plan providers,
resellers and government entities to market and distribute products
online. eHealth, Inc. also provides powerful online and
pharmacy-based tools to help seniors navigate Medicare health
insurance options, choose the right plan and enroll in select plans
online through its wholly-owned subsidiary, PlanPrescriber.com
(www.planprescriber.com) and through its Medicare website
www.eHealthMedicare.com.   
For more health insurance news and information, visit the
eHealthInsurance consumer blog: Get Smart - Get Covered. 
Embedded Video Available: 
http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame_mw?attachid=2219876 
For media inquiries, please contact:  
Sande Drew
eHealth, Inc.
(916) 207-7674
sande.drew@ehealth.com 
Kris Kraves
Cogenta Communications
(805) 527-7733 - direct
kris@cogentacom.com 
 
 
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