Get Ready for Open Enrollment: eHealth Outlines Consumer Basics for New Health
Reform Enrollment Period
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 08/21/13 -- Today eHealth,
Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) (www.ehealth.com), the nation's first and largest
private online health insurance exchange, released answers to a
series of frequently asked questions designed to introduce consumers
to the newly established health insurance open enrollment period.
"This is one of the first big changes many consumers will experience
as a result of the Affordable Care Act," said Bill Shaughnessy,
president and chief operating officer of eHealth, Inc. "In the past,
when most Americans heard the phrase 'open enrollment,' they thought
of the annual enrollment period for employer-based group health
insurance plans. Now health care reform is creating a nationwide open
enrollment period for anyone purchasing health insurance on their
own. If you don't buy a health plan during the upcoming open
enrollment period, you may risk going uninsured for 2014 and may be
liable for penalties on your 2014 federal tax return."
Established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the first-ever annual
open enrollment period will begin October 1, 2013 and continue
through March 31, 2014. During this time, persons without
employer-based coverage will be able to purchase health
reform-compliant coverage on their own without fear of being declined
based on pre-existing medical conditions. Consumers with household
incomes of between 133% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level may
also apply for government subsidies. Coverage under new plans
purchased during open enrollment will begin no sooner than January 1,
Open Enrollment for 2014 Health Plans: Frequently Asked Questions
Question: When is the new open enrollment period?
Answer: The first-ever open enrollment period for individual and
family health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act begins
October 1, 2013 and continues through March 31, 2014. Open enrollment
periods in succeeding years will be shorter than this one-time
Question: What is an open enrollment period?
Answer: The Affordable Care Act's open enrollment period is when
individuals and families can purchase health insurance plans that
meet the requirements of the health reform law. Coverage under these
new plans will begin no earlier than January 1, 2014. New health
plans will provide coverage for essential health benefits defined by
the ACA. Consumers who qualify will be able to apply for government
subsidies and enroll without fear of being denied for pre-existing
Question: Who needs to apply for coverage during open enrollment?
Answer: The new open enrollment period is for individuals and
families who do not have employer-sponsored major medical health
insurance meeting the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. If you
already have employer-based major medical health benefits, you do not
necessarily need to enroll in a new plan during the open enrollment
period, but rather through your employer's own open enrollment period
for group coverage. If your share of your employer-sponsored health
insurance monthly premium is deemed too costly under the law, you may
choose to opt out of that plan and purchase a qualified health plan
with subsidy assistance, depending on your income level.
Question: Will I be required to purchase a health insurance plan
during this period?
Answer: If you are currently uninsured and wish to enroll in a health
reform-compliant plan for 2014, you will need to enroll during this
open enrollment period. If you don't purchase a health
reform-compliant plan, you may be subject to a tax penalty and it may
be difficult to find and qualify for health insurance later in the
year. If you are currently enrolled in an individually purchased
health insurance plan, you may be able to retain your current
coverage into 2014. Ask your health insurance company for more
Question: What happens if I don't purchase during the open enrollment
Answer: Outside of open enrollment, your ability to apply for health
insurance may vary from state to state. It may be limited to the
occurrence of a qualifying event, such as the loss of a job, a
marriage or divorce, a move, or the birth of a child.
Question: What if I miss open enrollment and don't have a qualifying
Answer: You may be able to purchase a health plan that is not in
compliance with the health reform law, like a short-term health
insurance plan. However, these plans may not meet the standards of
the Affordable Care Act and you may be subject to a tax penalty on
your 2014 federal tax return.
Question: Where do I shop for health insurance during open
Answer: During the open enrollment period, consumers can enroll in
2014 health plans through private online health insurance
marketplaces like eHealth.com or through state health insurance
exchanges. Consumers who want to apply for subsidies may do so
through the government exchange in their state or through online
health insurance marketplaces like eHealth.com, as allowed by their
state's exchange authority.
To learn more about open enrollment and how to prepare for it, visit
the eHealth Affordable Care Act Resource Center.
Additional Consumer Resources:
-- Follow eHealth's consumer blog, Get Smart - Get Covered
-- Browse our answers to real-life consumer health insurance questions on
-- Follow eHealth on Facebook and Twitter
eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) is the parent company of
eHealthInsurance, the nation'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 200 of the nation's leading health
insurance companies. eHealthInsurance is licensed to sell health
insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. 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 eHealthMedicare.com (www.eHealthMedicare.com).
For more health insurance news and information, visit the
eHealthInsurance consumer blog: Get Smart - Get Covered.
For media inquiries, please contact:
(805) 527-7733 - direct
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