Obamacare at Risk Without Full Embrace and Utilization of Private Sector Exchanges Like eHealth, Says CEO Gary Lauer

Obamacare at Risk Without Full Embrace and Utilization of Private Sector 
Exchanges Like eHealth, Says CEO Gary Lauer 
Asks Obama to Allow eHealth to Help in Shopping and Enrollment
Process for Health Insurance Policies in the 36 Federal Exchange
States -- Without Cost to Taxpayers 
Lauer Also Calls on His Home State of California's Exchange, "Covered
California," to Explain Its Refusal to Allow eHealth to Enroll
Tax-Subsidy-Eligible Californians 
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 10/30/13 --  Gary Lauer, CEO of
eHealth, the nation's leading health insurance exchange, in a letter
to President Obama, offered his company to help "fix" the current
problems experienced by the federal exchange.  
"We are ready to help you get this program back on track promptly,
with the cooperation of the federal exchange, if you allow us to take
over the shopping and enrollment process in all 36 federal exchange
states -- without cost to the taxpayer. While your staff is working
hard to repair Healthcare.gov, with your support, we can be the
stopgap that is needed." 
Lauer wrote to the president that, "Last year, eHealth had 20 million
visitors to our website from across the nation, a substantial number
of whom were between the vital ages of 18 and 34. Our website
operates at the highest levels of Internet consumer availability and
eHealth, a public company located in Silicon Valley, California, has
been an Internet health insurance marketplace that has enrolled
millions of individuals in affordable health insurance policies over
the last 13 years -- approximately 40% of whom were uninsured before
coming to eHealth. 
Lauer challenges California Exchange: "Why give lower income people
fewer choices on where they enroll in health insurance than wealthy
At a national telephonic press conference held today, Lauer also
called on the health insurance exchange in his home state of
California, called "Covered California," to "explain your refusal to
allow eHealth to assist in enrolling tax-subsidy eligible
individuals, in the same way as the federal exchange has agreed to
"Wealthy people under Obamacare are allowed to use eHealth or
purchase their health plans anywhere," he said. "Last year HHS-CMS
issued a highly consumer-protective regula
tion allowing eHealth and
other private sector health insurance websites to enroll lower income
tax-subsidy eligible people, and in August of this year it signed an
agreement with eHealth allowing it to assist the federal exchange
with the shopping and enrollment process. Why won't Covered
California do the same?"  
Carl Guardino, the President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership
Group, a public policy trade association that represents more than
390 of Silicon Valley's most respected companies, supported Lauer's
and eHealth's request of Covered California. "Covered California
currently does not include experienced online marketplaces for
subsidy-eligible, lower-income residents," said Gaurdino. "This
should be fixed immediately so that everyone in our state, regardless
of income level, can have the same choices." 
In a letter to Executive Director Peter Lee and Covered California,
several members of the California Latino Legislative Caucus called on
the state exchange to work with eHealth and other private online
 "We are writing to urge you to allow 'web-based
brokers,' which meet the conditions of relevant federal regulations,
to partner immediately with Covered California in order to maximize
the number of enrollees coming into the California Exchange," the
letter reads. "Failure to utilize all available tools at our
disposal, including web-based brokers, may undermine our collective
goal of enrolling as many eligible individuals as possible under the
Affordable Care Act (ACA)." The letter was sent by a group of
California Senators and Assembly members including California Latino
Legislative Caucus Chair Senator Ricardo Lara, Assembly Member V.
Manuel Perez and Assembly Member Luis Alejo. 
Lauer calls for transparency and asks "We need transparency -- how
many people enrolled? Medicaid versus private insurance?" 
Lauer also expressed his concern that, according to published
reports, the bulk of other state exchange enrollments are of
Medicaid-insured recipients, and questioned Covered California's
success in signing up individuals for private health plans. He called
on California to break out the "total numbers" that are being
presented to the media. "Be transparent and release the number of
people actually insured through the state's exchange since October 1,
2013," he said. 
To date, the state has only reported the number of Californians who
have begun the enrollment process, and has not published the
percentage of those who have begun enrollment on Medicaid versus
private insurance. In particular, the state should publish the
numbers of young people between the ages of 18 and 34 who have begun
to enroll, as well as actually obtained health insurance through
Covered California. 
"It is vital for this system to appeal to younger and healthier
people who don't want to use call centers or paper applications, but
would prefer to enroll online, including using their mobile devices,"
Lauer said.  
Additional information about the cost-free enrollment strategy as
well as the following attachments can be found at
Attachments (available on www.costfreeenrollment.com):  
Copy of letter from California Latino Legislative Caucus
 Copy of
letter from California Senate and Assembly Members from Silicon
 Quotes from Silicon Valley leaders 
About eHealth
 eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) operates
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
Medicare beneficiaries navigate Medicare health insurance options,
choose the right plan and enroll in select plans online through
PlanPrescriber.com (www.planprescriber.com) and eHealthMedicare.com
For more health insurance news and information, visit the eHealth
consumer blog: Get Smart -- Get Covered. 
For media inquiries, please contact:  
Brian Mast
Vice President of Communications
eHealth, Inc.
Nate Purpura
Director of Communications
Eleanor McManus 
Sr. Media Consultant
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