eHealthInsurance Review

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eHealthInsurance Summary

eHealthInsurance (also known as eHealth) is one of the largest health insurance brokerage companies in the United States. They operate primarily through their website (eHealthInsurance.com) and have agreements with health care providers in all 50 states to sell insurance directly to individuals, families and small businesses.

eHealth allows users to view different health insurance plans available within their state and compare the features side-by-side. eHealth is not an insurance company, so nothing is actually underwritten by them. Instead they are a broker that connects customers with health care providers. They also can act as a middleman once a policy has been purchased if the customer would rather deal with them on some issues than the actual insurance company.

Their website has recently gone through a complete overhaul, with the layout, functionality and logo all being things that were changed. The new logo promotes the company as eHealth, rather than the traditional eHealthInsurance name.

 
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Insurance Products

As previously mentioned, eHealth is not an actual insurance company. Therefore, this section will focus on the products they are licensed to sell rather than the ones they underwrite.

Individual Health Insurance

Individuals and families looking to buy health insurance on the open market can do so through eHealthInsurance.com. While they do not have agreements to sell for every insurance carrier in each state, they are for the most part able to sell plans from the majority of the large companies like Kaiser, Aetna and Humana.

Short Term Health Insurance

Anyone finding themselves with a short-term need for health insurance can look at plans through eHealth. This type of coverage is often used when someone is between jobs or while on a temporary leave from an organization that would typically offer health care coverage. These plans are often expensive and carry high deductibles, so they are only recommended as a stop-gap measure when no other options are available.

Group Health Insurance

Small businesses looking to obtain coverage for their employees can use eHealth as their broker.

Additional Products

In addition to health care coverage, eHealthInsurance also acts as a broker for many vision and dental insurance carriers. The plans available can be viewed directly on their website, and are specific for each state.

eHealth and the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare)

The new health care laws have quite an impact on eHealth and how they are able to do business. I am going to go off script here and write in the first person so I can explain my findings while researching eHealth for this review.

During the research phase for this review (October 2013) I called and spoke with the sales department for eHealthInsurance and asked them about the new laws and how that impacted their ability to sell health insurance going forward. Particularly how it impacted the federal subsidies that are available to individuals and families making under a certain amount of income every year.

It has previously been thought that in order for an individual to qualify for the federal subsidies they MUST purchase their plan through the state exchanges (or federal exchanges when the state did not set one up). I interpreted that to mean brokers (like eHealth) would be cut out. However, after speaking with an agent, it sounds as if that is only partially true.

The agent I spoke with said that they are able to set up individuals and families with coverage through the exchanges in most states, thus being able to act as the broker and get their customers the subsidies. Unfortunately, this is not the case for every state. According to the agent, these are the states in which eHealth CANNOT get an individual a health plan through the exchange, and thus CANNOT get any subsidies for the customer:

  • Oregon
  • Nevada
  • Colorado
  • Minnesota
  • Kentucky
  • New York
  • Maine
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington – Existing customers exempt
  • California – Existing customers exempt

So what that means as a consumer is if you qualify for a federal subsidy when purchasing health insurance and you live in one of the above listed states, you will probably want to go through the exchange itself and not eHealthInsurance.

This may change in the future as the kinks in the new rules get ironed out, and we will be sure and update this as we come across new information.

(Employees of eHealth are invited to email us if and when this information changes. Please use the Contact page)

eHealthInsurance Price (Rates)

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eHealth does not add a broker fee or surcharge to the policies they sell. They are paid directly by the underwriting insurance company so the cost of buying a policy through eHealth is the same is purchasing it directly through the health care provider or any other non-fee broker.

Claims

Claims are handled through the underwriting insurance carrier, not eHealthInsurance. For any issues or claims that must be filed, contact the health care company directly.

Consumer Research and Complaints

At the time of this writing, eHealthInsurance has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. They have been accredited with the BBB since 2012 and have 68 complaints filed against them in the last three years, 25 of which occurred in the previous 12 months. According to the BBB website, the number one problem customers have with eHealthInsurance is regarding their advertising and sales. Close behind in the number two spot is “Problems with Service.” Of the 68 complaints in the last three years, 55 were resolved with the help of the Better Business Bureau, and 13 resolutions were not deemed satisfactory by the complainant. However, the BBB felt eHealth made a “good faith effort” to fix the issue.

Bottom Line

eHealthInsurance is a great place for people that are savvy about health insurance and are capable of purchasing coverage for themselves with minimal assistance. They do provide licensed agents that can be contacted over the phone, so many basic questions can be answered pretty easily.

Health insurance is very complicated and little details can mean the difference between getting proper coverage and leaving yourself vulnerable in key areas. Be sure and get all the information about a plan before purchasing, and if you have any questions make sure you get them answered in a manner that you can understand.

eHealthInsurance Review2Eric Stauffer2013-10-16 14:30:52Get a Quote From eHealthInsurance
eHealthInsurance Summary
eHealthInsurance (also known as eHealth) is one of the largest health insurance brokera…

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About the Author

Eric Stauffer

I am a former insurance agent turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.


Comments

  1. Chris says

    Just signed up for a policy with United Health (the more expensive one) and I was charged already, but the policy doesn’t go into effect April 1st. What a crappy way to do business. I have the money so that’s not the issue. I am pissed because the have charged me for something I don’t currently have. Talk about a crappy company and bad way to do business. They charge you when you application is approved, now when coverage starts. So in other words, they get a free ride with my money and yours until the policy starts—what a load of crap

    I am already looking for another company–

    • Eric Stauffer says

      Hi Chris,

      That is pretty standard across the board within the insurance industry. It ensures you have coverage on the first day it starts. If they waited until the beginning of the policy date, there could be a lapse in coverage if the payment source was rejected or declined.

      Best,
      Eric Stauffer

  2. DH says

    People, pay close attention to what you are reading about ehealth… Not only can you not get through when calling, but they don’t respond by email, or live chat tells you to contact your agent.

    I applied in December, this is now February, I haven’t gotten my cards, now they send me a bill for march telling me the balance is 92.00 when I signed up it was 85.00. I was never informed about an increase. The communication with this company is the worse…. Go elsewhere, do yourself a favor and spare the drama…. Did I say I still haven’t gotten my cards.

  3. KathyC says

    Live and learn, I and dealing with ehealthinsurance.com trying to get an application status update and information is a JOKE!!! They tell you to call this number and that number and no one there seems to give a flying flip what happens after they completion of the application. I was told it takes 2 weeks, its been over 4 weeks and I am being told it was sent to Cigna for underwriting just last week. SERIOUSLY, it took 4 weeks to send to underwriting???? There is a huge disconnect between ehealth and insurance carrier so getting an update is impossible. If you try contacting your agent they give you the run around and don’t be surprised if they hang up on you. They have customer service reps but they aren’t too nice, really rude – no help at all. THINK TWICE ABOUT USING THIS COMPANY!!!!! I highly suggest you deal with a local agent that can walk an application through and keep you updated throughout the process. NOT HAPPY AT ALL WITH THESE JOKERS……………….

  4. Melissa says

    How long does an application take to get approved? I submitted my application on November 1st, after talking to a representative and was under the impression within 24 hours I would have my new plan. For some reason my application was not sent to the carrier until 11/05 and it is now 11/11 and my application still says pending! A little frustrating as I thought coverage would go into effect immediately.

    • Eric Stauffer says

      Hi Melissa,

      The applications (from my experience) can take up to a few weeks to get all the way through, as long as their are no hang ups. What you are describing is similar to what my experience has been with eHealthInsurance. At least that is how it is with a standard health insurance plan.

      If you are not comfortable waiting until the policy is approved, you may be able to purchase a short-term health insurance plan to fill the gap between application and approval. These are usually pretty expensive and only offer limited coverage, but they can be a life-saver if something big happened. I believe that eHealthInsurance sells them through their website, or you can try contacting the insurance company you are currently in the application process with and see of they can sell you a short-term policy until the full policy is approved.

      Best,
      Eric Stauffer

  5. Rick says

    I used them for help choosing a part d drug plan- they were so helpful and knowledgeable that I am comfortable reviewing my current Medicare supplemental coverage for on that is more appropriate than the overpriced one that was suggested to me by a government agency disinterested party. (office for the aging) that simply is NOT a good fit. In other words, I’m more comfortable with this for profit company!

  6. chris says

    I filled out an application requesting an insurance plan. When I received approval it was not for the plan I signed up for. I called eHealthinsurance and explained this to them. The lady at customer service looked at my application and said an error had been made and that indeed I was correct and had been signed up for the wrong plan and that she would have it looked into and fixed. The next morning I get an email saying eHealthinsurance and the insurance carrier had both verified that the indeed the I had signed up for the plan I claimed I hadn’t signed up for. So I had to call eHealthinsurance again and basically force them to take action since as soon as they pull up my application they can see an error has been comitted. I also had to call the insurance carrier and make sur the issue was being fixed because I cannot trust eHealth insurance. Bottom line is this feels like they tried to pull a bait and switch and when they got caught they did nothing to resolve it except try and tell me I signed up for something I didn’t. I wish I had read these reviews before signing up with these guys, and would also speculate Eric Stauffer isn’t a consumer advocate but a shill for eHealthinsurance because he doesn’t seem genuinely concerned with the fact every review on his page here is negative towards eHealthinsurance.

    • Eric Stauffer says

      Hi Chris,

      Thank you for taking the time to leave your feedback.

      I cannot vouch for eHealthInsurance and how they handled your issue, but I would like to respond to your criticism that I am a “shill” and ignore the negative comments posted on this review. (For those unaware, a “shill” is someone who publically promotes a person or company while hiding the fact they secretly work with or for them).

      The majority of actual user comments left on ExpertInsuranceReviews.com and other insurance websites are in fact, negative. The reason for this is an upset customer is much more likely to hit the internet in an attempt to spread their experience than someone who is receiving adequate service. In addition, the majority of consumers that land on ExpertInsuranceReviews.com are in the process of changing their insurance company so there is often a negative reason for leaving their current or previous provider.

      All of the user comments on this website are moderated, which means they are read and approved by me or an editor prior to actually being published on the site. If the intent was to praise eHealthInsurance and only show them in a good light, the negative comments would be filtered out. In fact, it would be easier to simply delete your comment than respond, but that is not how we run this site.

      With so much misinformation on the internet these days, it really does pay to be skeptical. I understand that, which part of the reason I allow user comments on these reviews. While myself and my team go to great lengths to research and provide the best information we can about an insurance company, customer feedback is often a great addition.

      Again, thank you for posting your comment.

  7. Anna says

    I do not recommend purchasing plans through eHealthInsurance at all. Their customer service representatives (both online and on the phone, and even including at least one supervisor) are incompetent at best. They keep repeating things that have no relevance to what you’re asking or referring to. They also are slower than dealing directly with an insurance company. I suggest looking at policies through eHealthInsurance and once you have one you would like to apply for, to go directly to the carrier rather than filling out the application through eHealthInsurance. It’s definitely not worth the hassle of dealing with incompetent customer service representatives. Horrible experience.

  8. Dental Insurance says

    I have used ehealthinsurance.com in the past to locate medical and dental insurance without a problem. I recently used the website to locate dental insurance for my dentist and I was stuck with a plan that my dentist did not accept. There was a requirement to enter the dentist information, so I selected my dentist information from the list, but the site did not indicate that my dentist was not accepting that plan. A few days later my application was approved and still no mention of an issue with my dentist, it wasn’t until I gave the dental information to my dentist that I discovered they would not accept the insurance. The site should have kicked my dentist selection out as not valid for the plan I had selected when I completed and paid for the insurance. Needless to say, I had to cancel the dental insurance after paying the nonrefundable enrollment fee.

  9. Dany says

    “eHealthInsurance can refer customers to health insurance companies in all 50 states and Washington D.C.”

    NOT true. I just spoke to them and they do not offer any plans in New York state.

    I asked them why their website advertises a plan in a NYC zip code and the agent told me she wasn’t technical support and did not know why the website said that.

    I would either not use this service that offers false advertising, or, I would definitely call them up before entering all your personal and medical info on their website.

    • Eric Stauffer says

      Hi Dany,

      I just ran a test on their website for different New York zip codes and it worked for me.

  10. Mel says

    Insurance carriers pay brokers a commission from their standard prices and those prices are based on a person’s age, gender and home zip code and then rated up based on medical information. Commissions are a set percentage and are not negotiable. That being said, there’s no way for a broker to negotiate a different commission so that their customers can receive lower rates than everyone else. A customer’s rate is no different buying from a broker than from going directly to the insurance carrier. If ehealthinsurance.com is claiming that they can obtain lower rates than any other insurance broker, then they are rebating…which is illegal. To prove my point, I ran rates on myself through my agent’s website and ehealthinsurance.com and the prices are exactly the same for the plans reviewed.

  11. David says

    DO NOT give this website your phone number!! They will put you on a mailing list and every insurance agent in the country will call you for months.

    • Eric Stauffer says

      Hi David,

      Are you positive you are referring to eHealthInsurance.com? I have personally used them on numerous occasions for my family medical and dental plans and have never received a single phone call from an agent. In fact, their privacy policy explicitly states that they will only share your information with an insurance company or agent that you have specifically applied to.

      eHealthInsurance Privacy Policy

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