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eHealth Data: Premiums 47% Higher for Individual Health Insurance Plans With Comprehensive Health Benefits

eHealth Data: Premiums 47% Higher for Individual Health Insurance Plans With 
Comprehensive Health Benefits 
Deductibles 27% Lower for Individual Health Insurance Plans That
Cover All of the Health Benefits Tracked in eHealth's Annual 'Cost
and Benefits' Report 
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 03/19/13 --  Today eHealth, Inc.
(NASDAQ: EHTH), parent company of eHealthInsurance.com, America's
first and largest private online health insurance exchange, released
a 'Cost of Comprehensive Health Benefits' report as an addendum to
its seventh consecutive 'Cost and Benefits' report, released in
November 2012. This new report shows that average monthly premiums
for individual health insurance plans are forty-seven percent (47%)
higher than average when they cover a comprehensive list of eight
health benefits. Average deductibles for plans that cover the same
eight benefits are twenty-seven percent (27%) lower than the average
for all plans. 
Since 2005, eHealth's Cost and Benefits report has tracked the
percentage of plans surveyed that cover eight health benefits deemed
to be comprehensive by eHealth, including: Laboratory and X-Ray;
Emergency Services; Prescription Drugs; Chiropractic; Maternity;
OB/GYN; Periodic Exams; and Well Baby care. The new report, 'The Cost
of Comprehensive Health Benefits' looks at the cost of just those
plans surveyed that cover all eight benefits: approximately 30,000
individual plans purchased across 32 states through
eHealthInsurance.com with coverage active in February of 2012 (see
Table 1). 
In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) created a new list of ten
Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) that all major medical health
insurance plans must cover at an actuarial value of 60% or more in
order to fulfill the federal mandate for health coverage, beginning
in January of 2014. Those EHBs include: ambulatory patient services;
emergency services; hospitalization; maternity and newborn care;
mental health and substance use disorder services, including
behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and
habilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventive
and wellness services and chronic disease management; and pediatric
services, including oral and vision care. (source)  
"These data provide valuable insight into the cost of health
insurance plans as consumers prepare to enroll in the more
comprehensive health plans that will become available with the
Affordable Care Act," said eHealth Senior Vice President of Carrier
Relations Robert Hurley. "Our report does not provide an 'apples to
apples' comparison of plans that cover the essential health benefits
established in the Affordable Care Act, but it does provide some
interesting insight into the potential impact that new benefits
standards could have on the cost of health insurance plans in the
individual health insurance market." 
Highlights from the addendum report include the following: 


 
--  Average Individual Premiums Increase: $279 - Monthly premiums for the
    individual plans surveyed were forty-seven percent (47%) higher when a
    plan covered all eight benefits tracked in eHealth's Cost and Benefits
    report ($279 vs. $190)
--  Average Family Premiums Increase: $605 - Monthly premiums for the
    family plans surveyed were also forty-seven percent (47%) higher when
    a plan covered all of the benefits tracked in eHealth's Cost and
    Benefits report ($605 vs. $412)
--  Average Individual Deductibles Decrease: $2,257- Annual deductibles
    for individuals were twenty seven percent (27%) lower when a plan
    covered all of the benefits tracked in eHealth's Cost and Benefits
    report ($2,257 vs. $3,079)
--  Average Family Deductibles Decrease: $3,422 - Annual deductibles for
    families were sixteen percent (16%) lower when a plan covered all of
    the benefits tracked in eHealth's Cost and Benefits report ($3,422 vs.
    $4,079)

  
The report also analyzed average monthly premiums for individual plans
that cover all of the benefits eHealth tracks by age. Table 2 below
shows the average premiums for all individual plans with
comprehensive benefits by age-range.  


 
                                                                            
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                            
    Prices for Average Individual Health Plans with Comprehensive Health    
                             Benefits (Table 2)                             
                                                                            
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Age Group          Average Individual Plan         Average Individual   
                               Premiums                    Deductibles      
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
     > 18                       $146                         $2,066        
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
      18-24                      $194                         $2,192        
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
      25-34                      $282                         $2,410        
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
      35-44                      $422                         $2,675        
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
      45-54                      $522                         $2,869        
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
      55-64                      $588                         $3,194        
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
The data presented in this report do not reflect the impact that new
Essential Health Benefit (EHB) standards will have on plan prices,
nor does the report take into account other factors that may impact
the cost of health insurance in 2014. Not only do some of the
benefits differ and overlap, but chiropractic care is not deemed to
be an EHB by the ACA. There are also other important changes that go
into effect next year that could impact plan prices, including the
following:  
1. The mandate to have health coverage - The requirement that all
Americans -- including the youngest and healthiest among us --
purchase health insurance does not go into effect until 2014. Today,
roughly forty percent (40%) of adults between the ages of 18 and 34
are uninsured, yet they make up less than a quarter (24%) of the
total population, according to the Department of Health and Human
Services (source). The individual mandate, requiring many people
without employer-based coverage to buy health insurance on their own
or face a tax penalty, could push more young, healthy, Americans into
the risk pool, which may help to lower prices. 
 2. Annual coverage
limits - Beginning in 2014, Qualified Health Plans cannot place
annual dollar limits on the coverage of essential health benefits.  
3. Guaranteed issue - This is a requirement of the Affordable Care
Act stating that applications for individual and family health
insurance plans can no longer be declined due to a pre-existing
medical condition. 
 4. Community rating - The Affordable Care Act
requires that health insurance plans can only vary rates -- what they
charge for a plan -- based on the applicants age, where they live,
family size, and tobacco use. Price increases relating to these
factors are limited to a 3 to 1 ratio for non-tobacco users. Tobacco
users may be charged up to fifty percent more (a 1.5 to 1 ratio). 
Methodology
 Comparisons of average premium costs for plans with
comprehensive health benefits in the report were derived from a
sample of more than 30,000 individual major medical policies
purchased through eHealthInsurance with coverage in effect in
February 2012. In most of the states used in this analysis it is
possible for applicants to be declined coverage for individual health
insurance coverage based on an insurer's review of their medical
history.  
The full addendum report, titled the 'Cost of Comprehensive Health
Benefits,' is available online through the eHealthInsurance Media
Center. The larger 'Costs and Benefits of Individual and Family
Health Insurance Plans' report, released in November 2012, is also
available. 
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 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. 
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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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