SOURCE: eHealth, Inc.

eHealth, Inc.

December 16, 2009 09:00 ET

COBRA Subsidy Expiration: Research Shows Similarly Priced Alternatives to Subsidized COBRA for Individuals in Most States

New eHealth Research Shows Average State-Level Premiums for Non-Group Individual Health Insurance Plans Are Comparable to Subsidized COBRA Premiums

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwire - December 16, 2009) - Today eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) released a new comparison of subsidized individual COBRA premiums and non-group health insurance premiums for individuals using data derived from eHealth's December 2009 Cost and Benefits Report(1) and a Families USA Foundation report released in January 2009.

The data in the eHealth (www.ehealthinsurance.com) report, when compared to COBRA subsidy data released by Families USA on January 9, 2009, show that the average individual premium of $161 is twenty-five dollars ($25) more expensive than the average subsidized COBRA premium of $136, and $227 less than the average unsubsidized COBRA premium of $388.

Premiums are an important element of health insurance policy, but the benefits provided by that policy are critical to gauging the value of any coverage purchased. According to the data in the eHealth report, the plans that individuals elected to purchase provided access to many important benefits. They include Labs & X-rays (99.0 percent); E.R. visits (99.9 percent); prescription drugs (89.6 percent); OB/GYN coverage (93.0 percent); periodic exams (89.5 percent); Well Baby coverage (87.7 percent); and chiropractic care (74.2 percent).

Maternity benefits were covered in 22.1% of policies surveyed, with nearly half (46.6 percent) of primary policy holders being women. Seven states (NY, NJ, MA, MT, MN, OR and WA) mandate that every non-group major medical insurance policy sold cover maternity benefits. In most other states maternity coverage is an optional benefit consumers can elect to purchase if needed. Maternity benefits are not always available in every state.

To view a full copy of eHealth's Cost and Benefits of Individual and Family Health Insurance Plans 2009 report, click here. You can also search for the report by name at news.ehealthinsurance.com.

eHealthInsurance.com encourages consumers who are losing access to their COBRA subsidies to proactively research their long-term options for health coverage by taking the following actions:

  • Do your homework: Research non-group health insurance policies at eHealthInsurance.com.
  • Get advice if you need it: First-time buyers should get help by contacting an agent or broker and by using free online resources like eHealth's "Health Insurance Buyer's Guide."
  • Know your timeline: Calculate the amount of time you have remaining on the COBRA subsidy using eHealth's COBRA Subsidy Calendar widget.
  • Don't let pre-existing conditions scare you: If you've got pre-existing medical conditions contact the Foundation for Health Coverage Education (www.CoverageForAll.org) to review free or low-cost options available in your area.
  • Get informed: If you have medical debt or need help understanding your rights, eHealth encourages you to review Families USA's consumer guide: Your Medical Bills: A Consumer's Guide to Coping with Medical Debt.

The data identifies the average premiums for COBRA, subsidized COBRA and non-group individual health insurance plans in 46 states and the District of Columbia. All non-group policies surveyed were purchased through the leading online market place of health insurance for individuals, families and small businesses, eHealthInsurance.com (http://www.ehealthinsurance.com).

                                                            Average Monthly
                                                            Premium
                                                            Non-Group
                            Average Monthly Average Monthly Individual
                            Individual      Subsidized      Health
                            COBRA           COBRA           Insurance
State                       Premium(1)      Premium(2)      Plan(3)
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Average Individual          $           388 $           136 $           161
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Alabama                     $           372 $           130 $           122
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Alaska                      $           428 $           150 $           182
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Arizona                     $           403 $           141 $           139
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Arkansas                    $           336 $           118 $           117
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
California                  $           380 $           133 $           150
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Colorado                    $           379 $           133 $           145
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Connecticut                 $           415 $           145 $           188
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Delaware                    $           444 $           155 $           151
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
D.C.                        $           428 $           150 $           144
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Florida                     $           371 $           130 $           162
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Georgia                     $           365 $           128 $           166
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
*Hawaii                     $           334 $           117              NA
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Idaho                       $           337 $           118 $           122
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Illinois                    $           400 $           140 $           147
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Indiana                     $           376 $           132 $           140
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Iowa                        $           369 $           129 $           103
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Kansas                      $           361 $           126 $           119
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Kentucky                    $           357 $           125 $           117
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Louisiana                   $           371 $           130 $           140
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
*Maine                      $           439 $           154              NA
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Maryland                    $           370 $           130 $           148
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
*Massachusetts              $           419 $           147              NA
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Michigan                    $           419 $           147 $           123
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Minnesota                   $           375 $           131 $           134
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Mississippi                 $           349 $           122 $           150
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Missouri                    $           373 $           131 $           121
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Montana                     $           391 $           137 $           158
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Nebraska                    $           367 $           128 $           132
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Nevada                      $           338 $           118 $           166
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
New Hampshire               $           436 $           153 $           182
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
New Jersey                  $           421 $           147 $           274
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
New Mexico                  $           380 $           133 $           136
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
New York                    $           434 $           152 $           339
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
North Carolina              $           380 $           133 $           140
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
*North Dakota               $           357 $           125              NA
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Ohio                        $           382 $           134 $           126
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Oklahoma                    $           374 $           131 $           133
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Oregon                      $           388 $           136 $           167
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Pennsylvania                $           403 $           141 $           155
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
*Rhode Island               $           433 $           152              NA
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
South Carolina              $           378 $           132 $           149
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
South Dakota                $           371 $           130 $           137
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Tennessee                   $           353 $           124 $           148
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Texas                       $           390 $           137 $           164
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Utah                        $           363 $           127 $           125
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
*Vermont                    $           407 $           142              NA
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Virginia                    $           386 $           135 $           154
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Washington                  $           382 $           134 $           185
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
West Virginia               $           410 $           144 $           171
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Wisconsin                   $           400 $           140 $           129
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------
Wyoming                     $           434 $           152 $           146
                            --------------- --------------- ---------------

(1) SOURCE: eHealth, Inc.'s 2009 Report: The Cost and Benefits of Individual and Family Health Insurance Plans Report: Surveys approximately 233,000 major medical, non-group individual plans that were active in February, 2009.
(http://news.ehealthinsurance.com/pr/ehi/document/Cost_and_Benefit_Report_2009.pdf)
(2) Families USA Foundation's January 2009 report: Squeezed! Caught between Unemployment Benefits And Health Care Costs: http://www.familiesusa.org/resources/newsroom/press-releases/2009-press-releases/cobra-premiums-for-family.html
(3) Calculated by multiplying the state-level COBRA premiums provided in the Families USA Foundation report(2) by 0.35.

About eHealth
eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) is the parent company of eHealthInsurance, the nation's leading online source of health insurance for individuals, families and small businesses. Through the company's website, http://www.eHealthInsurance.com, consumers can get quotes from leading health insurance carriers, compare plans side by side, and apply for and purchase health insurance. eHealthInsurance offers thousands of health plans underwritten by more than 180 of the nation's leading health insurance companies. eHealthInsurance is an online marketplace licensed to sell health insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, making it an excellent model for successful, high-functioning health insurance exchanges. Through its eCommerce On-Demand solution (eOD), www.ehealth.com/eOD, eHealth is also a leading provider of on-demand e-commerce software services. eHealth's eOD platform provides a suite of hosted solutions that enable health plan providers and resellers to market and distribute products online. eHealth's eCommerce On-Demand solution is currently available to health plan providers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. eHealthInsurance and eHealth are registered trademarks of eHealthInsurance Services, Inc.

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