eHealthInsurance Works to Expand Coverage
House Majority Leader Dick Armey and Sunnyvale, Calif.-based eHealthInsurance Chair and Founder Vip Patel yesterday held a briefing on the Internet's potential in solving "the national problem of access to affordable health insurance." Patel "challenged" Congress to work with the private sector to reduce the number of uninsured Americans by 50% in 2010. "Republicans and Democrats alike can celebrate that the Internet is starting to make an impact on the uninsured. However, cutting the uninsured problem in half clearly requires all the political and economic muscle both the public and private sectors can apply to this effort," Patel said. He added, "eHealthInsurance seeks to be a catalyst, if not a lightning rod" in helping more Americans obtain health coverage. eHealthInsurance "markets individual, family and small group health insurance and was responsible for the nation's first Internet-based sale of a health insurance policy" (eHealthInsurance release, 12/7). According to an eHealthInsurance fact sheet, more than 40% of eHealthInsurance customers did not have health coverage for at least six months prior to purchasing a plan through eHealthInsurance.com (eHealthInsurance fact sheet, 12/7).
At the press conference, Patel recommended three proposals for increasing coverage: tax credits for the uninsured; subsidies for high-risk pools (such as people with pre-existing conditions); and the creation of "safe harbors" for uninsured small businesses and their carriers "to encourage partial reimbursement of employees for an individual health plan without the restrictions of a group plan." The briefing was the "latest in a series" held by congressional members and Patel in the past year (eHealthInsurance release, 12/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.