COBRA Subsidy Expiration: Research Shows Similarly Priced Alternatives to Subsidized COBRA
June 08, 2010 | Consumer Advice
Recent eHealth Research Shows Nationwide Average Premiums for Non-Group Family Health Insurance Plans are Comparable to Subsidized COBRA Premiums
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – (June 8, 2010) -- June 1, 2010 marked the end of the federal COBRA subsidy for many who began receiving it when the subsidy was first made available in March 2009. To help recipients understand the financial considerations of transitioning off of the COBRA subsidy, today eHealth, Inc., parent company of eHealthInsurance, (NASDAQ: EHTH), provided a new comparison of national averages for family health insurance premiums and subsidized COBRA premiums. The comparison shows that families purchasing their own non-group health insurance pay an average of $388 per month1, only one dollar more than the average subsidized COBRA premium of $387 per month2. With the average monthly non-subsidized COBRA premium at $1,107 per month2, Americans who qualify for individual or family health insurance may be able to save a considerable amount of money by purchasing coverage on their own after the subsidy’s expiration.
Comparison of national group and non-group family health insurance premium data from eHealth, Inc. and Families USA.
Average Monthly Premium
Non-Group Family Health Insurance Plan1
Average Monthly COBRA Premium2
The updated comparison is based on individual and family health insurance premium data from eHealth, Inc.’s 2010 Spring Cost Report, released in March 2010, and COBRA subsidy data released on June 6, 2010 by Families USA. The eHealth research is based on a nationwide sample of over 360,000 individual and family (IFP) major medical policies that were purchased through eHealthInsurance and active in August 2009. The eHealth report also showed that the nationwide average for individual health insurance premiums was $164 per month1.
While the 15-month subsidy is expiring for early recipients, the eligibility period for the federal COBRA subsidy also ended on June 1, 2010. Congress may consider extending the eligibility period again, but until then, anyone who becomes eligible for COBRA health insurance after May 31, 2010 will not qualify to receive the COBRA subsidy, though they may opt to enroll in and pay for COBRA coverage on their own.
eHealthInsurance.com encourages consumers who are either losing access to their COBRA subsidies or not eligible for the COBRA subsidy to proactively research their long-term options for health coverage by taking the following actions:
- Do your homework: Research individual and family health insurance policies at eHealthInsurance.com.
- Understand all of your options – private or public: For quick reference, use eHealthInsurance’s new “Your Health Insurance Options” widget. Or watch the recent ‘Coping without COBRA’ webinar, featuring experts from eHealthInsurance, Foundation for Health Coverage Education and Healthcare Blue Book, at eHealthInsurance’s media center.
- Know your timeline: Calculate the amount of time you have remaining on the COBRA subsidy using eHealth's COBRA Subsidy Calendar widget.
- Talk to a licensed agent for personal help: If you have question, call a licensed agent at 1-800-977-8860. eHealthInsurance has agents that are licensed in every state in the union.
- Don't let pre-existing conditions scare you: If you have pre-existing medical conditions, talk to an agent first to see if you might qualify with certain carriers or to learn more about HIPAA plans. Then contact the Foundation for Health Coverage Education (www.CoverageForAll.org) to review public options available in your area.
- Get informed: Whether you are insured or uninsured, get a clear understanding of medical costs using the helpful research and comparison tools at Healthcare Blue Book (www.healthcarebluebook.com).
Note: The aforementioned comparisons between individual and family health insurance and subsidized COBRA health insurance focus on price, but consumers should also compare benefits offered in different plan options to ensure they choose the right plan for themselves or their family. Price is an important element of health insurance; however, the benefits provided by a health insurance policy are also a critical component of any coverage purchased. Individual or non-group plans offer a selection of benefits also found in employer or group plans: hospitalization, emergency room coverage, lab x-ray, maternity care, OB/GYN coverage, physician visits, pharmaceutical coverage, and preventative care. The majority of plans surveyed in our 2009 report titled, “Cost and Benefits of Individual and Family Health Insurance Plans,” include most of these benefits.3
1 Based on the average monthly premiums of family plans purchased through eHealthInsurance.com with coverage in effect as of February 2009, eHealth, Inc.
2010 Spring Cost Report for Individual and Family Policy Holders, http://news.ehealthinsurance.com/pr/ehi/document/Spring_2010_Cost_Update.pdf
2 Families USA Special Report: The Pending Jobs Bill:
People Most in Need Could Lose Health Care, http://www.familiesusa.org/resources/publications/pending-jobs-bill.pdf
3 Based on eHealth, Inc.’s 2009 Report: The Cost And Benefits Of Individual And Family Health Insurance Plans Report, http://news.ehealthinsurance.com/pr/ehi/document/Cost_and_Benefit_Report_2009.pdf
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. Information and resources are available on various health plans, ranging from individual and family, short-term medical, and Medicare insurance. Consumers can get quotes from leading health insurance carriers, compare plans side by side, and apply for and purchase health insurance. eHealthInsurance is an online marketplace licensed to sell health insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. eHealthInsurance and eHealth are registered trademarks of eHealthInsurance Services, Inc. For more information, see www.ehealthinsurance.com.
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