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Independence Holding Company today announced that it has acquired a “web-based entity” that is helping about 4,000 active users generate price quotes for individual major medical insurance shoppers.

The web broker is also helping producers get the consumers enrolled in individual coverage, and it’s in the process of setting up a quoting and enrollment tool aimed at producers in the small-group market, IHC said.

IHC did not name the entity that sold it the web broker operation.

(Related: 5 Things a Short-Term Medical Issuer Executive Sees Out There Now)

 

The list of companies with prominent individual major medical web broker operations includes eHealth Inc., Health Insurance Innovations Inc. and HealthSherpa. Many other organizations also have the HealthCare.gov certifications needed to help consumers enroll in the health plans offered through HealthCare.gov.

IHC is a Stamford, Connecticut-based company that’s active in the group life, disability, pet insurance and supplemental health markets. Its HealtheDeals.com site sells products such as short-term health insurance and hospital indemnity insurance.

IHC said in the web broker deal announcement that it wants to use the web broker business it has purchased to expand sales of products such as short-term health insurance to individuals under 65, and to support a private health exchange program aimed at small employers.

David Kettig, president of IHC, said in a statement that he believes the IHC private exchange will appeal to small employers that want to use the new, expanded health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) program to give employees cash that the employees can use to buy their health insurance.

If IHC can use a private exchange to help an employer’s employees enroll in individual major medical coverage, “this will lead to more chances for us to offer list-billed ancillary plans, and potentially even short-term medical underwritten by our carriers,’ Kettig said.

In related news, Kettig said IHC plans to begin selling individual vision and individual hearing plans along with individual dental insurance. The vision plans and hearing plans will be available to consumers under age 65 as well as to consumers ages 65 and older, Kettig said.

— Read For Full-Pay Clients, Individual Health Premiums Are Hell: Web Brokeron ThinkAdvisor.

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