Newsroom > Press Releases > eHealth Answers Questions for California Policy Holders Losing Individual & Family Health Insurance Coverage

eHealth Answers Questions for California Policy Holders Losing Individual & Family Health Insurance Coverage

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – August 14, 2013 – Today eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH – www.ehealth.com), the nation’s first and largest private online health insurance exchange, released answers to frequently asked questions for Aetna policy holders in California who may be confused about their coverage options. Aetna recently announced its decision to stop offering individual and family coverage in the state.

All persons currently holding a self-purchased Aetna individual or family health insurance policy in the state of California will be affected by the company’s withdrawal from the market. Aetna’s employer-based group health insurance plans will not be affected.

As a licensed health insurance agency and the largest single source of individual and family health insurance coverage in the state of California, eHealth offers the following answers to common questions to help current Aetna policy holders better understand their coverage choices.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Is it true that Aetna will no longer be offering individual and family health insurance plans in the state of California?

Answer: Yes, Aetna has announced plans to withdraw from the individual and family health insurance market in the state of California. Aetna is no longer offering individual and family plans for sale in the state, and coverage for existing policies will cease after December 31, 2013.

Question: What happens to my coverage if I have an individual and family Aetna plan in California today?

Answer: You may keep your coverage for now but your plan will be cancelled after December 31, 2013. If you want to avoid a gap in your health insurance coverage, you will need to purchase a new health insurance plan with coverage to start no later January 1, 2014.

Employer-based Aetna group health insurance plans in California are not affected by this announcement.

Question: Should I shop for a replacement health insurance plan now or wait until later?

Answer: You’re free to shop for a new health insurance plan at any time, but do not cancel your current coverage until you’re approved for a new plan and your new coverage begins. Visit eHealthInsurance.com, the nation’s largest online health insurance marketplace, to review your coverage options today and get help from a licensed agent familiar with the California market. eHealth currently offers over fifty individual and family plans from five brand-name health insurance companies in California.

Here are a few considerations:

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, note that your application for coverage under a new plan may still be declined based on your medical history. This will change as a result of the health reform law, but only for new plans with coverage starting January 1, 2014 or thereafter. Aetna’s decision to keep current plans in effect until the end of 2013 helps protect current policy holders who may have pre-existing medical conditions.

Beginning January 1, 2014, most people without employer-based health insurance will be required to obtain coverage on their own or face a tax penalty, as a result of the health reform law. An open enrollment period for new 2014 health insurance plans will begin on October 1, 2013, though coverage under these new plans will begin no sooner than the first of the new year, depending on when you submit an application.

Once open enrollment begins, California consumers will be able to shop for plans through licensed agents like eHealthInsurance and local agents in their area, as well as through a government-run health insurance exchange. Households earning less than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (approximately $45,000 per year for a single person or $92,000 for a family of four) may qualify for subsidies.

Question: I thought health reform allowed me to keep my plan if I liked it. Why can’t I keep my Aetna plan?

Answer: The health reform law does make special allowances for “grandfathered” health insurance plans – that is, plans purchased and with coverage in effect prior to March 23, 2010. However, the law does not prevent a health insurance company from ceasing to offer products within a particular state.

Question: Where can I turn for help and advice when shopping for a new health insurance plan?

Answer: You should always work with a licensed health insurance agent when shopping for a new health plan, preferably one like eHealthInsurance that represents multiple insurance companies and allows you to compare your options side by side. It doesn’t cost anything extra to work with an agent and it can help you get a better understanding of your coverage options.

At eHealthInsurance, we’re glad to offer personal assistance to Aetna customers who want to explore new health insurance choices in California. Visit us online at eHealthInsurance.com. We also offer assistance by telephone and online chat.

Additional Consumer Resources:

##

About eHealth                            
eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) is the parent company of eHealthInsurance, America'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 seniors navigate Medicare health insurance options, choose the right plan and enroll in select plans online through its wholly-owned subsidiary, PlanPrescriber.com (www.planprescriber.com) and through its Medicare website eHealthMedicare.com (www.eHealthMedicare.com).

For more health insurance news and information, visit the eHealthInsurance consumer blog: Get Smart – Get Covered.