Shares of online health insurance middle man eHealth (EHTH) rocketed up 30% on Wednesday. Shares have since come down from their new 52-week highs since then, but appear to have forward momentum. The company, which issued a new 8K, disclosed a new deal with the government that appears to make eHealth the biggest winner from the Affordable Healthcare Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.
eHealth, the nation's largest private health insurance exchange, entered into an agreement with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service. The deal will allow customers in 36 states help determining a suitable plan under the new regulations related to the Affordable Healthcare Act. Under the agreement, eHealth will be able to search the Federally Facilitated Exchange to see if customers are eligible for tax subsidies and other benefits.
A source tells CNBC that eHealth will also be used as a platform to enroll individuals in healthcare plans. Previously, eHealth sent customers to insurance sites to complete the process. For their middle man work, eHealth was paid commission rates that averaged around 7%.
Now under the new plan, eHealth will have to offer access to all plans, including those that don't offer a commission. However, eHealth should see higher commission rates from some insurance companies and will benefit from an overall higher customer base. Under the new Obamacare rules, Americans will have to buy insurance if they do not have it through work. Those who remain uninsured face possible fines.
eHealth is benefiting from several trends among the insurance market. The company has a growing demand for Medicare and Medicaid products. eHealth is a leader among Medicare plans and also owns the website eHealthMedicare.com. The company is also benefiting from a more do-it-yourself consumer insurance platform. As the details emerge from Obamacare, more Americans will have to go online to find their own insurance. This truly makes eHealth, with the nation's largest exchange, the clear winner from this deal and Obamacae in general.
In 2012, eHealth's website was visited by 20 million people. Half of that large number came in the key 18-34 age demographic, that might be most impacted by new healthcare regulations. The company has strong institutional ownership, with large investments from RS Investment (14.9%), Wellington Management (13.9%), Healthcor (11.6%), T. Rowe Price (5.7%) and BlackRock (5.2%). eHealth also remains debt free and continues to buy back large amounts of its own stock.
In the second quarter, eHealth saw total revenue increase 12%. This was led by a 14% increase in commission revenue ($34.9 million) and 17% increase in Medicare revenue ($5.8 million). The total number of submitted applications grew by 7% in the quarter to over 110,000. Total membership increased by 24% to 1,091,400.
Prior to the government partnership, eHealth had forecast earnings per share of $0.61 to $0.71 for fiscal 2013. The company is also expecting revenue to grow to a range of $168 to $174 million. Analysts on Yahoo Finance are calling for earnings per share of $0.41 and revenue of $173.8 million. The company is likely to blow past earnings estimates, but might fall shy of revenue. However, in fiscal 2014, analysts are likely underestimating earnings and revenue potential. Earnings are expected to come in at $0.67. Revenue is estimated to increase 14.8% to $199.4 million. This new deal should send revenue closer to a 20 to 25% increase, based on shear volume alone.
Despite Wednesday's large increase in share price, investors can now ease back into the stock. After hitting new 52-week highs of $32.24, shares now trade closer to the $30 level. The company's revenue and earnings per share guidance will be up in the air until this new deal takes place. With the uncertainty of Obamacare, analysts are likely to underestimate the impact of this deal. eHealth will benefit from Obamacare and should find a place in your portfolio for the future.