TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 01, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. (NASDAQ:HIIQ), a leading cloud-based technology platform and distributor of affordable individual and family health insurance and supplemental plans, today commented on the final rule entitled “Short-Term, Limited-Duration Insurance”, which was released on August 1, 2018, by the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Health and Human Services (together, the Departments). The rule will go into effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. HIIQ welcomes the much-anticipated final rule restoring the maximum duration of Short-Term, Limited-Duration Insurance (STLDI) from 3 months to less than 12 months from the original effective date, with the ability to be renewed or extended for a maximum duration of up to 36 months in total.
“HIIQ shares the Departments’ concern with respect to the rising cost of health insurance in the individual market and welcomes any measures taken to improve the availability of insurance products that meet consumer demands and needs,” said Mr. Gavin Southwell, Chief Executive Officer and President of HIIQ. “We also believe that this rule change will improve consumer choice and increase competition and affordability in the individual health insurance market.”
STLDI plans have lower deductibles on average than exchange plans and are paired with very broad PPO networks. A key feature of typical STLDI plans is that plan benefits are paid for covered expenses incurred from any provider in the U.S. and there is no referral required if a member would like to see a specialist. Members have the added benefit of receiving discounted network rates if they choose to use an in-network provider. In addition to the valuable benefits and broad provider networks, STLDI plans are considerably more affordable than ACA-compliant exchange plans.
HIIQ believes that the April 2017, three-month rule implementation decreased the availability of health benefits for consumers even as the cost of insurance for these same consumers increased. For example, HIIQ’s analysis of plans available for plan year 2018 on the federal exchange found that a family of three with parents age 40, earning the average U.S. household income, would not be able to find an affordable Bronze or Silver plan anywhere in the United States. Looking ahead to plan year 2019, available preliminary rate filings show that benchmark plan premiums will increase by double digit percentages in many states, with premiums in certain states increasing as much as 36% year over year. Consumers who are ineligible for subsidies are hit hardest by premium increases each year, which has caused unsubsidized enrollment to decrease at an alarming rate. In 2017, unsubsidized enrollment decreased by 20% nationally. Additionally, six state markets experienced a drop in unsubsidized enrollment of more than 40% in 2017.
“As result of this final rule, STLDI plans can help decrease the number of currently uninsured Americans while increasing choice and competition in the individual market. We believe these plans make available more coverage options and broader access to providers than current individual ACA health insurance coverage has.” Mr. Southwell said. “In addition, while we continue to analyze the business impacts of this final rule, we expect the expanded market for STLDI plans to yield significant upside in our business including an overall increase in sales and policies in force driven in part by enhanced persistency of members associated with longer plan durations.”
About Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. (HIIQ)
HIIQ is a market leading cloud-based technology platform and distributor of innovative health insurance products that are affordable and meet the consumer’s needs. HIIQ helps develop insurance products through our relationships with best-in-class insurance companies and markets them via its broad distribution network of third party licensed insurance agents across the nation, its call center network and its unique online capability. Additional information about HIIQ can be found at HIIQ.com. HIIQ’s Consumer Division includes AgileHealthInsurance.com, a website for researching, comparing and purchasing short-term health insurance products online and HealthPocket.com, a free website that compares and ranks all health insurance plans, and uses objective data to publish unbiased health insurance market analyses and other consumer advocacy research.
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 HIIQ’s 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 products offered through our platform, state regulatory oversight and examinations of us and our carriers and distributors, legal and regulatory compliance by our carriers and distributors, the amount of commissions paid to us or changes in health insurance plan pricing practices, competition, changes and developments in the United States health insurance system and laws, and HIIQ’s 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 will be discussed in HIIQ’s 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.
Health Insurance Innovations, Inc.:
Chief Financial Officer