Newsroom > Press Releases > eHealth CEO Scott Flanders Endorses HHS Decision to Reform Obamacare Navigators Program

eHealth CEO Scott Flanders Endorses HHS Decision to Reform Obamacare Navigators Program

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Sep. 1, 2017-- eHealth, Inc. (Nasdaq: EHTH) CEO Scott Flanders today endorsed the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) decision to reduce and rethink the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA or Obamacare) navigator program, which spent over $62 million to enroll 81,000 people in Obamacare in 2017 ($768 per enrollment).

“Secretary Price has an obligation to the American people to use their money effectively and efficiently, and the navigator program failed on both fronts,” said Scott Flanders, CEO of eHealth, Inc. “The navigator program’s results are discouraging, but HHS’ decision to acknowledge that failure and try something else is a positive step for government.”

HHS provided the following findings about the Navigator program (source):

  • Navigators received $62.5 million for the 2017 open enrollment period
  • Navigators enrolled 81,426 people for 2017 at an average cost of $768 per enrollment.
  • One-in-five navigators achieved their performance goals.

“At eHealth we wholeheartedly endorsed the Affordable Care Act's goal of expanding coverage and improving access to health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions,” Flanders said.

“Where the legislation has fallen short is in its goal to make health coverage affordable for middle-class families and young, healthy people who are so critical to creating a healthy, balanced risk pool. Replacing the individual mandate, which has not worked, with a functioning alternative would be a good first step,” Flanders continued.

“We also need to acknowledge the strides Secretary Price is making to stabilize the individual insurance market. This year HHS tightened up enforcement of the special enrollment periods so people can’t wait until they get sick to buy health insurance. And, under Secretary Price, HHS is requiring people to repay their past-due premiums before they can sign up for a new health plan. Those are two very positive steps that will help bring more insurance companies back to the market and reduce volatility in insurance premiums.”

“HHS has also taken steps to make it easier for consumers to enroll in Obamacare health plans, using their tax credit, without using Healthcare.gov,” Flanders continued.

“HHS is embracing smart, simple, cost-effective, market-minded ways to stabilize the individual insurance market. My ongoing concern is for middle-class families. In June, eHealth analyzedprojected rate increases for 2018 and found that health insurance would be unaffordable for the majority of middle-class families who don’t qualify for Obamacare subsidies in 2018, based on eHealth’s customer data from last year,” Flanders said.

“Giving the market more freedom to innovate will improve the health and well-being of every citizen,” Flanders concluded.

1 Obamacare Premiums for 2018 Projected to Make Health Insurance Unaffordable for Many, eHealth Analysis Finds (http://news.ehealthinsurance.com/news/obamacare-premiums-for-2018-projected-to-make-health-insurance-unaffordable-for-many-ehealth-analysis-finds)

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About eHealth

eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) owns eHealth.com, a leading private online 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, over the phone or through online chat. eHealth offers thousands of individual, family and small business health plans underwritten by many of the nation's leading health insurance companies. eHealth (through its subsidiaries) is licensed to sell health insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. eHealth also offers educational resources, exceptional telephonic support, and 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, or over the phone, through Medicare.com (www.Medicare.com), eHealthMedicare.com (www.eHealthMedicare.com) and PlanPrescriber.com (www.PlanPrescriber.com).