SOURCE: eHealth, Inc.

eHealth, Inc.

June 17, 2009 12:00 ET

eHealth Mines Experience to Offer Congress Recommendations on Connecting Uninsured Americans to Health Coverage

CEO Speaks at DLC Policy Forum Today on Learnings and Best Practices to Help Achieve Speedy, Universal Enrollment

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - June 17, 2009) - This week, as congressional leaders debate legislation designed to reform the nation's healthcare system, eHealth, Inc's. Chairman and CEO Gary Lauer discussed the organization's commitment to helping enroll the 47 million Americans who are uninsured. Additionally, eHealth released its policy recommendations, which are based on its proven success in connecting nearly two million Americans to coverage through its ecommerce connector, ehealthinsurance.com (http://www.ehealthinsurance.com). eHealth believes that the keys to achieving universal coverage are technology platforms where those in need of insurance can find, compare and buy any and all policies meeting the mandated federal requirements.

"A nation as diverse as ours needs a strategy for connecting people to coverage that reaches them where they are and in a way that fits their learning styles and preferences," Lauer said in remarks to the Democratic Leadership Council. "To avoid some of the confusion that accompanied the implementation of Medicare Part D, we need to engage every organization -- public and private -- that can explain the new law and get uninsured Americans connected to coverage, quickly and smoothly. Paths to insurance need to be online, in-person, through affinity groups and partnership programs -- no single approach serves everyone's needs."

"eHealth is excited to be part of this extraordinarily important process," Lauer concluded. "We are committed to working cooperatively with the Administration, Congress and others to get this done right. We look forward to having an improved health care system that achieves universal coverage."

As head of the leading online health insurance connector for individuals, families and small businesses, Lauer shared the insights, experiences and lessons eHealth has learned from connecting nearly two million Americans to health insurance over the last ten years. Lauer noted that the federal government doesn't have to start from scratch in order to connect uninsured Americans to health coverage. The experience of others in the industry, who have spent decades helping people smoothly, quickly and effectively find the health insurance policy that meets their needs, can play an important role in enrolling the uninsured.

Lauer presented eHealth's recommendations to maximize enrollment by developing a successful healthcare outreach and enrollment program, including well-functioning health exchanges. The full text is available upon request.

The following are highlights:

--  Seek opportunities for everyone involved in reform to be involved in
    outreach, education and enrollment.  Government exchanges should play a
    role, but forcing every health insurance buyer through a single "one-size-
    fits-all" interface will fail.
    
--  Government should establish a minimum standard of quality for
    policies, access to health insurance -- web sites, call centers, exchanges,
    etc. -- and certify them but it should let states, independent brokers, and
    the private sector continue to put their different strengths to work in
    order to present Americans with health care options and get them enrolled.
    
--  Millions of low-income people do not take advantage of existing
    programs designed to benefit them (e.g. SCHIP, Medicaid).  Therefore, any
    newly subsidized policies for low-income Americans need to be available and
    included in every outreach program in order to capitalize on awareness of
    these options and maximize enrollment.
    
--  All certified health insurance exchanges, as well as other enrollment
    channels, such as licensed brokers and agents, should have the ability to
    determine an applicant's eligibility for public assistance programs
    (Medicaid, SCHIP, Medicare, etc.) and be able to enroll qualified
    applicants in those programs.
    
--  Any subsidized policies for lower income groups should be marketed
    through every certified channel: official exchanges, private on line
    services, brokers and agents, and community groups.
    
--  All certified health insurance exchanges, as well as other enrollment
    channels, should be required to provide complete transparency for all
    insurance plans they sell including; (a) full disclosure of all available
    private market products; benefits and prices; and (b) full disclosure of
    all fees and commissions paid among carriers, exchanges and agents.
    

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, determine if their doctors accept certain policies, 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.

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