Consumers without Subsidies May Pay $189 More Per Month and Choose Lower Metal Level Health Insurance Plans, According to eHealth Analysis

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Consumers without Subsidies May Pay $189 More Per Month and Choose Lower Metal Level Health Insurance Plans, According to eHealth Analysis

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – August 5, 2014 – Today eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH – eHealthInsurance.com), the nation’s first and largest private online health insurance exchange, released an analysis of cost data published by the federal government and by eHealth to compare the personal premium expenditures of consumers who used government subsidies to purchase coverage with those who selected plans without using government subsidies during open enrollment.

According to eHealth’s analysis, health insurance shoppers without subsidies who shopped through eHealth paid average health insurance premiums that were $189 per month – or $2,268 per year – higher than the average price paid by consumers receiving government subsidies. Those shopping without subsidies also opted more often for lower-tier plans, like bronze plans, resulting in deductibles that may be over $4,000 per year. More details about the data used in this analysis are provided below.

“It’s estimated that as many as forty percent of Americans shopping for coverage on their own will not be eligible for government subsidies1,” said Carrie McLean, eHealth Director of Customer Care. “And if you do receive a subsidy, unexpected increases in your household income or court challenges to the Affordable Care Act may still call your subsidy dollars into question. Without subsidies, the effective cost of health insurance could increase substantially for many Americans. If your government assistance dried up, could you still afford the health coverage you and your family need?”

Subsidized vs Non-Subsidized Health Insurance Shoppers

For the purposes of the analysis below, eHealth used health plan selection and cost data from its May 2014 Health Insurance Price Index report to illustrate premium costs borne by consumers not using government subsidies2. For costs associated with consumers utilizing government subsidies, eHealth used data recently published by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)3. The data reflects plans selected by consumers during the Affordable Care Act first open enrollment period, which began on October 1, 2013 and ended on March 31, 2014.

Average premiums for individual coverage:

  • Among shoppers who used subsidies: Across all metal levels, the average premium for an individual plan before subsidies were applied was $346 per month. After subsidies were applied, the average premium cost to the consumer was $82 per month.
  • Among shoppers without subsidies: Across all metal levels, the average premium for an individual plan was $271 per month, the full cost of which would be borne by the consumer.

Average premiums for individual plans by metal level:

  • Among shoppers who used subsidies: Individual shoppers selecting bronze plans paid an average of $68 (after subsidies) toward their monthly premiums; those selecting silver plans paid $69 on average; those selecting gold plans paid $208 on average; and those selecting platinum plans paid $220 on average.
  • Among shoppers without subsidies: Individual shoppers selecting bronze plans paid an average of $259 toward their monthly premiums; those selecting silver plans paid $328 on average; those selecting gold plans paid $353 on average; and those selecting platinum plans paid $411 on average. In each case the full cost would be borne by the consumer.

Premiums under $100/month and above $200/month:

  • Among shoppers who used subsidies: More than two-thirds (69%) of individual shoppers selected plans with premiums of $100 or less per month after subsidies were applied; nearly half (46%) had premiums of $50 or less.
  • Among shoppers without subsidies: More than six-in-ten (61%) individual shoppers selected health insurance plans with monthly premiums of $200 or more.

Most common metal levels selected:

  • Among shoppers who used subsidies: Silver plans were the most commonly selected plan type from among all metal tiers4.
  • Among shoppers without subsidies: Bronze plans were the most commonly selected plan type from among all metal tiers. For these shoppers, the average deductible for individual plans was $4,164.

Inventory of Major Medical Insurers and Plans in 50 Metro Areas

In addition to the cost analysis above, eHealth also published information today on the total number of insurers represented and total number of plans offered through eHealth in fifty metro areas across the United States. On average, individual health insurance consumers shopping through eHealth in these metro areas were able to find a total of 38 different health insurance plans to choose from offered by an average of 4 different insurers. The following plan inventory summary covers ten metro areas. For more information, please refer to eHealth’s complete analysis.

  • Atlanta, GA (zip code 30009): 57 plans offered by six insurers
  • Austin, TX (78660): 51 plans offered by five insurers
  • Cleveland/Akron, OH (44221) 54 plans offered by seven insurers
  • Denver, CO (80219): 60 plans offered by five insurers
  • Detroit, MI (48180): 67 plans offered by six insurers
  • Los Angeles, CA (90650): 45 plans offered by five insurers
  • Miami, FL (33012): 46 plans offered by five insurers
  • Oklahoma City, OK (73013): 46 plans offered by five insurers
  • Phoenix, AZ (85225) 70 plans offered by six insurers
  • Salt Lake City, UT (84118): 59 plans offered by six insurers

Each of the plans included meets the minimum essential coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act, though some may not be available through government-run health insurance exchanges. These statistics are subject to change and reflect eHealth offerings only during the July 2014 period.

Notes:                                               

1 A Kaiser Family Foundation report estimates a total market size of 29 million Americans, 17 million (59%) of whom may utilize government subsidies and 12 million or whom (41%) may not.
2 Source: eHealth’s Health Insurance Price Index Report for Open Enrollment and Q1 2014. Data from this report utilized in this analysis is based solely on health insurance shoppers selecting individual and family major medical plans through eHealth during the 2014 ACA open enrollment period, October 2013 – March 2014. Refer to the report for additional methodology information.
3 Source: ASPE Research Brief, Premium Affordability, Competition, and Choice in the Health Insurance Marketplace, 2014. Refer to the report for methodology information.
4 Source: ASPE Issue Brief, Health Insurance Marketplace: Summary Enrollment Report for the Initial Annual Open Enrollment Period, published May 1, 2014.

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About eHealth                      

eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) operates eHealthInsurance.com, 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 (www.eHealthMedicare.com).

For more health insurance news and information, visit the eHealth consumer blog: Get Smart – Get Covered or visit eHealth’s Affordable Care Act Resource Center at www.eHealth.com/affordable-care-act.

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