SOURCE: eHealth, Inc.

eHealth, Inc.

February 26, 2009 08:00 ET

COBRA Subsidy Calculator and Affordable Health Insurance Alternatives From eHealthInsurance at COBRALearning.com

Calculate the Cost of Your Subsidized COBRA Premium: Compare Subsidized COBRA With Affordable Health Insurance Alternatives

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwire - February 26, 2009) - eHealthInsurance, the leading online source of medical insurance for individuals, families and small businesses, today announced that a COBRA subsidy calculator is available on its COBRA Learning Center located at COBRALearning.com. The new federal stimulus package (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) includes a 65 percent subsidy on the cost of COBRA premiums for up to 9 months.

eHealthInsurance's COBRA calculator allows consumers to input the total cost of their COBRA premiums and calculate their out of pocket costs for COBRA after they receive their 65 percent subsidy. It also gives consumers the option to input basic information (gender, date of birth, zip code) to view anonymous quotes on private health insurance alternatives to COBRA.

Even with the subsidy, many Americans may find COBRA premiums to be cost-prohibitive. For that reason, eHealth's COBRA Calculator also allows consumers to view quotes and apply online for health insurance policies available from name-brand health insurance companies. These plans may be more affordable than a subsidized COBRA plan. Consumers should make informed decisions, which is why eHealth recommends researching all of your options.

Consider these three hypothetical customer types:


Customer A

Profile: Single Adult Male
Age: 45-55
Health status: diabetic
State of residence: New York

Cost-effective coverage option (1)

--  COBRA with the 65% subsidy.

Rationale:

--  It's extremely difficult to qualify for an individual health insurance
    product if you have a pre-existing health condition like diabetes.
--  The good news for someone living in a state like New York is that it's
    a "guaranteed issue" state, which means you can't be denied coverage
    due to a pre-existing health condition.
--  However, any individual policy you purchase in a guaranteed issue state
    would have costs comparable to what you would get with COBRA. And there
    are no subsidies available for individual market policies.




Customer B

Profile: Married Adult Female with three kids
Age: 35-45
Health status: Policy holder takes medication for mild anxiety and
depression. Spouse and children are healthy.
State of residence: Texas

Cost-effective coverage option (1)

--  COBRA for herself with the 65% subsidy.
--  Individual policies for her husband and children.

Rationale:

--  A COBRA policy for customer B's entire family may average $1,100(2) or
    more per month - $385(5) after the subsidy.
--  If she insures herself with COBRA, she's likely to pay closer to
    $140(6) per month after the subsidy.
--  Assuming the rest of her family is in good health, she could insure
    them all with a family plan for as little as $120(3) per month.
--  This type of mix & match strategy can save her $125 or more per month
    on premiums.




Customer C

Profile: Single Adult Male
Age: 25-36
Health status: A few minor back problems, but nothing serious.
State of residence: California

Cost-effective coverage option (1)

--  Individual health insurance policy.

Rationale:

--  In California, the average adult will pay $380 on COBRA(2) per month,
    which equates to $133 per month after the subsidy.
--  Individual health insurance policies from name-brand carriers can start
    at around $65(2) per month for young, healthy adults.
--  You have a better chance of being insured when healthy, and you're
    likely to find a better rate.
--  If saving money is a priority, an individual health insurance policy
    can provide quality coverage and save you as much as $70(3) or more
    each month over subsidized COBRA premiums.


"Even in this difficult economic environment, it is important that consumers research all of their health insurance options and get covered," said Chris Hakim, director, COBRA solutions at eHealthInsurance. "Continuing your health insurance through COBRA is often the best health insurance option, but that's not always the case. People living on unemployment benefits and struggling to make ends meet may find more cost-effective health insurance coverage in the private market, at a fraction of the cost. This calculator allows them to explore their options and make sure they're buying the coverage that best meets their needs."

An eHealth 2008 survey(4) of 227,000 private health insurance policy holders showed that half of all individual policy holders paid less than $130 per month and over half of family policy holders paid less than $300 per month. It also showed that a vast majority of individual and family policyholders had lab x-ray, emergency, prescription and chiropractic coverage and that the average plan lifetime coverage limit was $3.9 million(4).

For answers to questions about the federal subsidy for COBRA insurance premiums included in the economic stimulus bill, please see the press release section of eHealth, Inc.'s website.

About eHealth, Inc.:

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 health insurance companies. eHealthInsurance is licensed to sell health insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. eHealthInsurance and eHealth are registered trademarks of eHealthInsurance Services, Inc.

Footnotes:

(1) The cost-effective coverage options listed in this chart are merely a suggestion based on the hypothetical profile provided. Other factors should be considered in determining what is the best option for a particular individual.

(2) SOURCE: Families USA Foundation's 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 using eHealth's COBRA calculator located at www.COBRALearning.com

(4) SOURCE: eHealth, Inc.'s 2008 report: Cost and Benefits of Individual and Family Health Insurance Plans: http://www.ehealthinsurance.com/content/expertcenterNew/eHealthCBreport2008FINAL.pdf

(5) According to the Families USA Foundation's 2009 report, the average family COBRA Premium in Texas is $1,293. Nation-wide, the average COBRA premium for families is $1,278.

(6) According to the Families USA Foundation's 2009 report, the average COBRA premium for an individual in Texas is $390. Nationwide, the average COBRA premium is $388.

For more information about individual and family health insurance plans as
an alternative to COBRA, please contact:

--  A licensed eHealthInsurance agent at 1-800-977-8860
--  Or go online to www.COBRALearning.com


For information about public programs please contact:

--  The Foundation for Health Coverage Education (FHCE) at 800-234-1317
--  Or go to their web site at www.coverageforall.org

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