MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Nov.1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Open enrollment for Obamacare starts today and consumers shopping for health insurance will find significant premium increases across the nation. The most popular marketplace plan (Silver) is 31 percent more expensive this year than last year, and the lower benefit marketplace plan (Bronze) is 22 percent more expense than last year.* What this means to consumers shopping for 2018 health insurance is that an average Obamacare premium will be even higher than this year's $489 per month, assuming the consumer is not eligible for a government premium subsidy. Almost every state is affected by the significant rate increases. Below are state examples of the average unsubsidized Bronze plan premiums for a 40-year-old male non-smoker:
Arizona: $424.12 per month (with one carrier option, except Pima county with two carriers)
Georgia: $490.69 per month (with one carrier option in 89% of its 159 counties)
Iowa: $609.94 per month (with one carrier option statewide)
Health insurance products that are widely available alternatives to Obamacare have not experienced the same rise in premiums. For example, a short-term health insurance plan (with a deductible and out-of-pocket cost comparable to a 2018 Obamacare Bronze plan) can be purchased for less than $100/month in most states. Comparisons in the same states above with plans available on AgileHealthInsurance.com for the same 40-year-old male non-smoker, short-term health insurance can be purchased at premiums starting at:
Arizona: $70 per month (with five carrier options and 158 unique health plans)
Georgia: $90 per month (with four carrier options and 127 unique health plans)
Iowa: $70 per month (with five carrier options and 158 unique health plans)
For consumers who are priced out of the individual market and lack employer or government health insurance coverage, there are three well-established alternative forms of health coverage: short-term health insurance, healthcare sharing ministry plans, and health benefit insurance:
- Short-Term Health Insurance is a form of major medical insurance designed to bridge gaps between other forms of health coverage, and has been offered by insurance companies such as UnitedHealthCare® for over three decades. Like other major medical health plans, short-term health plans include coverage for doctor and specialist visits, hospitalization, emergency care, and lab tests. Most plans allow a member to choose any doctor or hospital.
- Healthcare Sharing Ministries plans are technically not insurance but a group of individuals and families who have joined together to share the cost of healthcare across the group. Members must agree to live by certain religious codes, such as limited tobacco and alcohol use. Generally these plans do not discriminate based on age, weight, or health history. Members are not limited to any network and may seek providers both in and out of state.
- Health Benefit Insurance is a form of indemnity medical insurance and has been offered to by insurance companies such as Aflac® for over six decades. Heath benefit insurance plans will pay a fixed cash benefit to members in the case of covered medical event such as a doctor visit or hospital stay. Health benefit plans are often combined with supplemental insurance products such as accident or critical illness insurance, as well as supplemental non-insurance services such telemedicine.
Consumers should understand that these three alternatives generally will not cover pre-existing conditions and may not offer all of the ten essential health benefits included in an ACA plan. Consumers may also be subject to the IRS ACA tax penalty unless they quality for a penalty exemption. Ministry plan members will not be subject to the ACA tax penalty so long as the ministry was established prior to 1999.
Bruce Telkamp, Founder and CEO of AgileHealthInsurance said, "ACA open enrollment starts today but millions of consumers will be priced out of the ACA market. This year witnessed an unsustainable 31 percent increase over last year's Silver premiums, without any new benefits being added to these plans. In practical terms, this means the average unsubsidized premium nationwide for a 40-year-old on Silver plan is $537, which is more than the average new car payment in the U.S. We strongly encourage consumers to understand their alternatives to ACA plans, in particular, their option to buy short-term health insurance on AgileHealthInsurance.com. Short-term health insurance plans may be ideal gap coverage until the broader individual market stabilizes and becomes affordable again. Most consumers can choose from dozens of short-term health insurance plans on the Agile website for under $100 per month. Short-term health insurance plans have similar deductibles and max out-of-pocket limits to ACA plans, and consumers can use their short-term health insurance plan to pay for access to most doctors and hospitals across the U.S."
*Price increases cited are from a HealthPocket study. There are multiple other studies that may differ a little due to differences in the methodology used to calculate increases. For instance, Avalere Health cited an increase of 34% in Silver and 18% in Bronze.
HealthPocket and AgileHealthInsurance are the registered trademarks of HealthPocket, Inc. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners and are used herein for identification purposes only; such use does not imply endorsement.
AgileHealthInsurance.com was created to educate people about the benefits of short-term health insurance and provide a fast, online process for purchasing these plans. Short-term health insurance is a flexible and low-cost major medical insurance for individuals without expensive pre-existing health conditions. It is not Obamacare. Short-term health plans offer consumers the flexibility to choose health plans with the benefits that matter most to them and combine these benefits with broad provider networks. Additional information about AgileHealthInsurance can be found at www.AgileHealthInsurance.com.
On October 12, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States. The Order requires the Secretaries of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services to propose or revise regulations to expand the use of short-term health coverage.
AgileHealthInsurance is a Silicon Valley-based technology company and independently managed division of Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. (Nasdaq: HIIQ). This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are statements other than historical fact, and may include statements relating to goals, plans and projections regarding new markets, products, services, growth strategies, anticipated trends in our business and anticipated changes and developments in the United States health insurance system and laws. Forward-looking statements are based on our current assumptions, expectations and beliefs are generally identifiable by use of words "may," "might," "will," "should," "expects," "plans," "anticipates," "believes," "estimates," "predicts," "potential" or "continue," or similar expressions and involve significant risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, developments and business decisions to differ materially from those contemplated by these statements. These risks and uncertainties include, among other things, our ability to maintain relationships and develop new relationships with health insurance carriers and distributors, our ability to retain our members, the demand for our products, the amount of commissions paid to us or changes in health insurance plan pricing practices, our ability to integrate our acquisitions, competition, changes and developments in the United States health insurance system and laws, and our ability to adapt to them, the ability to maintain and enhance our name recognition, difficulties arising from acquisitions or other strategic transactions, and our ability to build the necessary infrastructure and processes to maintain effective controls over financial reporting. These and other risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in our forward-looking statements are discussed in HIIQ's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as well as other documents that may be filed by HIIQ from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are available at www.sec.gov. Any forward-looking statement made by us in this press release is based only on information currently available to us and speaks only as of the date on which it is made. You should not rely on any forward-looking statement as representing our views in the future. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.