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New website technology offers insurance choice

An Indiana entrepreneur has launched a new web site designed to combat the growing problem of of uninsured and underinsured in America by offering new technology that allows customers to compare plans and rates from several insurance carriers.

The initiative comes as the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation declared that the number of uninsured people in Indiana grew by nearly 200,000 between 2000 and 2003.

Mike Ertel hopes to address the growing trend of health coverage moving from an employer-based model to one of personal responsibility by enabling customers to compare insurance carriers and their specific plans and pricing against one another, and purchase short-term and long-term health insurance directly through the site.

The bottom line is that far fewer people are getting coverage through their employers and we don’t see this trend going away any time soon, said Ertel. We launched to help people make sense of all the different plans and pricing, and most importantly, to get people covered. Many of these people would traditionally have depended on an HR department to help them through this process, but that’s no longer an option.

In 2003, the average price of retail prescriptions filled in Indiana rose by 6.8%, slightly larger than the national average. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, between 1996 and 2002, the average employee premium contribution per enrolled private-sector employee for single coverage rose 65.2 percent, from $342 to $565.