A company that specializes in selling short-term health insurance and other products mostly beyond the reach of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) says demand looks strong.
Health Insurance Innovations Inc. (Nasdaq:HIIQ), a company that designs, markets and sells non-PPACA health insurance products underwritten by other companies, earned lower profits in the latest quarter than it did in the year-earlier quarter, but the number of applications that came in, and the number of policies in force, soared.
The company is reporting $228,000 in net income for the fourth quarter of 2015 on $35 million in revenue, compared with $472,000 in net income on $25 million in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2014.
The company — which sells coverage through the call centers it owns, call centers owned by others, the Web, and outside brokers — spent $2.6 million to restructure its call centers.
The company puts products that can be alternatives to major medical coverage — short-term health insurance and hospital plans — in one product category, and products like dental insurance, critical illness insurance and discount plans in a supplemental insurance category.
Even though the PPACA open enrollment period for 2016 was in full swing in the fourth quarter, the number of applications taken for major medical alternative products climbed to 69,200, from 30,900 in the year-earlier quarter, and the number of applications taken for the other, supplemental products increased to 84,100, from 25,100.
The number of major medical policies in force rose to 84,500, from 50,800.
The company started selling coverage through its own website, at AgileHealthInsurance.com, and it also increased the amount of commissions it paid to outside producers 50 percent, to $18 million.
During a conference call with securities analysts, Pat McNamee, the president of Health Insurance Innovations, said that, for consumers who don’t qualify for PPACA premium subsidy tax credits, the cost of PPACA-compliant individual major medical coverage is high.
Because issuers often set the deductibles for PPACA-compliant coverage high and use narrow provider networks in an effort to hold the premiums down, the coverage looks like a bad deal for consumers who are used to low-deductible coverage and big networks, McNamee said.
“The ACA plans just don’t have a lot of value,” McNamee said. “Some of the bigger players are not even paying commissions to sell the ACA. So, that’s very helpful. We’re getting some natural tailwinds.”
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