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) -- 06/17/09 -- This week, as congressional leaders debatelegislation designed to reform the nation's healthcare system, eHealth, Inc's. Chairman andCEO Gary Lauer discussed the organization's commitment to helping enrollthe 47 million Americans who are uninsured. Additionally, eHealth releasedits policy recommendations, which are based on its proven success inconnecting nearly two million Americans to coverage through its ecommerceconnector, ehealthinsurance.com (http://www.ehealthinsurance.com). eHealthbelieves that the keys to achieving universal coverage are technologyplatforms where those in need of insurance can find, compare and buy anyand all policies meeting the mandated federal requirements.
"A nation as diverse as ours needs a strategy for connecting people tocoverage that reaches them where they are and in a way that fits theirlearning styles and preferences," Lauer said in remarks to the DemocraticLeadership Council. "To avoid some of the confusion that accompanied theimplementation 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 groupsand 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 theAdministration, Congress and others to get this done right. We lookforward to having an improved health care system that achieves universalcoverage."
As head of the leading online health insurance connector for individuals,families and small businesses, Lauer shared the insights, experiences andlessons eHealth has learned from connecting nearly two million Americans tohealth insurance over the last ten years. Lauer noted that the federalgovernment doesn't have to start from scratch in order to connect uninsuredAmericans to health coverage. The experience of others in the industry, whohave spent decades helping people smoothly, quickly and effectively findthe health insurance policy that meets their needs, can play an importantrole in enrolling the uninsured.
Lauer presented eHealth's recommendations to maximize enrollment by developing asuccessful healthcare outreach and enrollment program, includingwell-functioning health exchanges. The full text is available uponrequest.
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, thenation'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 leadinghealth insurance carriers, compare plans side by side, determine if theirdoctors accept certain policies, and apply for and purchase healthinsurance. eHealthInsurance offers thousands of health plans underwrittenby more than 180 of the nation's health insurance companies.eHealthInsurance is licensed to sell health insurance in all 50 states andthe District of Columbia. eHealthInsurance and eHealth are registeredtrademarks of eHealthInsurance Services, Inc.
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