Open Enrollment and Health Insurance: eHealthInsurance Launches New Online Resource
September 21, 2009 | Consumer Advice
New Interactive Guide Helps Consumers Explore Health Insurance Options in a Challenging Economy
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwire - September 21, 2009) - Today, eHealthInsurance launched a new Interactive Health Insurance Buyer's Guide. Designed for consumers considering all of their options during the traditional open enrollment season, the interactive tool helps consumers make informed decisions when buying their own health coverage.
eHealthInsurance (NASDAQ: EHTH), the leading online source of health insurance for individuals, families and small businesses, has made the interactive buyer's guide available online at www.ehealthinsurance.com/guide. A downloadable PDF version is also available.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation's 2009 Employee Benefits Survey, 21 percent of businesses offering benefits reported that they'd reduced the scope of health benefits or increased cost sharing due to the economic downturn. Another 15 percent reported that they would increase their worker's share of the premium.
"A challenging economy, employer benefit reductions and healthcare reform are combining to make this open enrollment season potentially more challenging or confusing for consumers," said Sam Gibbs, consumer health insurance expert for eHealthInsurance. "The individual health insurance market can be an attractive, cost-effective, alternative for anyone whose employer benefits have been cut or reduced, as well as for the unemployed and self-employed that have to fend for themselves. If they are new to buying their own coverage, our new guide will help get them started."
The new guide is not a complicated, lengthy document designed to make individuals read long, complex insurance policies. Rather, the new buyer's guide allows consumers to click their way through five simple steps, which can help them to make sense of complex insurance forms and to make informed purchasing decisions.
The five easy steps in the new guide are:
- Step one, "Why You Need Health Insurance," addresses the value and necessity of health insurance.
- Step two, "Get to Know the Lingo," provides basic definitions about terms and acronyms necessary to start researching and comparing plans.
- Step three, "Assess Your Needs," helps consumers identify the amount of coverage they need, and the types of benefits they should look for in a policy.
- Step four, "Compare Your Options," outlines five key criteria for choosing a plan, common pitfalls to avoid, and other helpful buying tips.
- Step five, "Apply for Coverage," walks consumers through the application process and next steps after they get approved or denied for coverage.
"eHealthInsurance has been a pioneer in making health insurance easier for people to understand and shop for," said Gibbs. "Often times when people are faced with page after page of complex terminology, they feel overwhelmed and stop reading. We believe this guide provides a solid foundation for our customers so that they know what to focus on when they're ready to find the health insurance product that meets their needs."
Ongoing research from eHealthInsurance supports the need for such a guide, revealing that:
Among Americans who receive health insurance from an employer(1):
- Almost two in three (64%) have no idea what their employer contributes towards their health insurance on a monthly basis.
- More than a quarter (27%) are not aware of how much they pay out of their own pocket each month for health insurance.
- Only one in four (26%) are aware that private health insurance is typically less expensive than COBRA coverage.
Among college students(2):
- More than half (53%) either did not know or declined to answer questions about standard benefits in private health insurance plans.
- Less than half could confidently define basic terms like Premiums and Co-insurance.
Among general consumers(3):
- Less than one-third could identify basic terms like HMO (36%), PPO (20%) or HSAs (11%).
Consumers can download the buyer's guide online at www.ehealthinsurance.com/guide.
(1) eHealth, Inc. Consumer Survey on Unemployment, May 2, 2009
(2) eHealth, Inc. Consumer Survey of College Students, May 14, 2009
(3) eHealth, Inc. Demystifying Health Insurance, November 2007
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 leading health insurance companies. eHealthInsurance is licensed to sell health insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Through its eCommerce On-Demand solution (eOD), www.ehealth.com/eOD, eHealth is also a leading provider of on-demand e-commerce software services. eHealth's eOD platform provides a suite of hosted solutions that enable health plan providers and resellers to market and distribute products online. eHealth's eCommerce On-Demand solution is currently available to health plan providers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. eHealthInsurance and eHealth are registered trademarks of eHealthInsurance Services, Inc.