The eHealth study compared monthly premiums for the lowest cost short-term health plans available at eHealth.com to the lowest cost ACA plans available at Healthcare.gov or CoveredCa.com in 40 metropolitan areas served by eHealth in June 2018. Read the full report.
“If you can afford ACA coverage, that’s great. The trouble is that too many middle-income folks can’t,” said eHealth CEO Scott Flanders. “Premiums for ACA coverage are well beyond what most people consider affordable, and frequently higher than what the ACA itself considers affordable. Short-term benefits are not comprehensive, but these consumers aren’t facing a choice between rich benefits and limited benefits – they’re facing a choice between having someprotection from unexpected medical costs or having none at all.”
Three Key Takeaways from eHealth’s Affordability Analysis
Short-term coverage can save consumers more than 80 percent on premiums: The average lowest priced short-term plan from eHealth’s analysis would cost a family of three $116 per month compared to $862 per month for the average lowest priced ACA bronze plan, a savings of 87 percent. The average lowest priced short-term plan for a 40-year-old woman would cost $60 per month compared to $347 per month for the average lowest priced ACA bronze plan, a savings of 83 percent.
The ACA and American consumers disagree on affordability: The ACA considers health insurance premiums “affordable” if they cost no more than 8 percent of household income. That translates to $376 per month for a median US household. At a household income of $100,000, that would be $667 per month. However, an eHealth survey found that nearly three quarters of respondents (74 percent) consider anything higher than $200 per month unaffordable for them.
Affordable ACA coverage is often out of reach for the unsubsidized, making short-term an attractive option: In the ten most affordable cities for ACA coverage in eHealth’s analysis, premiums for the lowest-priced bronze plan cost over 13.9 percent of the state’s median income on average. By contrast, in eHealth’s ten least affordable cities for short-term coverage, premiums for the lowest priced short-term plan costs less than 4 percent of the state’s median income on average.
Additional findings and important methodology information about eHealth’s analysis are available in the full report which is available for download here.
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 brand-name insurers side by side and purchase and enroll in coverage online and over the phone. 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), goMedigap (www.goMedigap.com) and PlanPrescriber.com (www.PlanPrescriber.com).