MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., March 14, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the midst of ongoing political debate over short-term health insurance coverage, a new nationwide poll has found that public awareness of this category of health coverage has significantly increased. 1,215 adults across the country were asked, "Are you familiar with short-term health insurance plans?" Respondents could select only one of the following answers listed in the following order:
- "No, I'm not familiar with them"
- "Yes, I'm familiar with them"
- "Yes, I'm familiar with them & have used them"
In total, 31 percent of respondents indicated that they were familiar with short-term health insurance plans. 20.6 percent indicated they were familiar with the short-term plans and an additional 10.4 percent indicated that they had personally used a short-term health plan. This 31 percent public awareness represents striking increase compared to prior polls and studies on subject, including a July 2017 nationwide poll issued by AgileHealthInsurance.
The most likely reason for the increased public awareness of short-term health plans is the political debate in recent months over the Trump administration's intention to undo an Obama-era late 2016 regulation that limited short-term insurance coverage to less than three months. The regulation itself only went into effect on April 2017, less than one year ago. The concerns contributing to the current political debate over short-term plans rests in the Democrats' belief that short-term policies may harm the Obamacare ("Affordable Care Act") insurance market risk pool and the Republicans' belief that these policies offer an economical option for Americans who cannot afford Obamacare plans.
"Despite their disagreement over root causes," notes Bruce Telkamp, CEO and Founder of AgileHealthInsurance.com, "there has been broader acceptance on both ends of the political spectrum that the Affordable Care Act isn't functioning as originally intended. The same 2010 law that brought affordable coverage to millions of uninsured also made health coverage unaffordable to millions of others. Unsurprisingly, decades-old alternative forms of health coverage ranging from short-term health plans to healthcare sharing ministries now receive increased attention from consumers priced out of government-run insurance exchanges."
Short-term health plans provide temporary major medical coverage to consumers, often those who are in-between coverage due to job loss or missing open enrollment. Prior to the April 2017 regulation restricting short-term coverage to less than three months, the average duration of a short-term policy was 201 days (6.7 months). Short-term health plans have been available in the U.S. for decades with consumers flowing in and out of the temporary coverage market as their individual employment status and other circumstances dictate. Estimated enrollment for the short-term market prior to the three-month restriction have ranged broadly from 160,600 to 850,000 members at any given time, with enrollment typically peaking in the summer months as students and graduates take advantage of these plans in significant numbers.
"The size and importance of this market has often been under-estimated because consumers move in and out of the short term market much more rapidly than other forms of major medical coverage, and the number of policies are not tracked by the government as they are in the Medicare and Obamacare markets," observed Telkamp. "The fact that 10 percent of survey respondents acknowledged having used a short-term plan at some point in their lives really reinforces the critical importance of the short-term health insurance market."
The full findings of the survey along with its methodology can be reviewed at "Poll: Spike in Short-Term Health Insurance Public Awareness" on AgileHealthInsurance.com.
AgileHealthInsurance.com was launched in 2015 to educate consumers on the availability of private market health insurance products that are alternatives to Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) plans. Today AgileHealthInsurance is the largest distributor of short-term health insurance, providing 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.
AgileHealthInsurance is a Silicon Valley-based technology company, and an independently managed division of Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. (Nasdaq: HIIQ). AgileHealthInsurance and its executives hold licenses in all 50 states and D.C. to transact health insurance online. 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.