The Obamacare Battleground Centers On EHealth

| About: eHealth, Inc. (EHTH)
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Most investors are Republicans. Republicans hate Obamacare. Thus most investors hate Obamacare.

You can make money off this.

One way is to speculate on eHealth (NASDAQ:EHTH), which specializes in e-shopping for health products. In the past the company has mainly focused on Medicare, offering tools for Medi-gap policies and Medicare Part D drug coverage.

The company's announcement in August that it would support the Health Exchanges that start selling policies on October 1 was not unexpected, given its relationship with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but it sent the stock rocketing upward, from under $24 to almost $31/share overnight. It's currently trading at about $28.40.

Since then hedge funds have been on the warpath against eHealth. Point Lobos Capital and Deerfield Investments got out of the stock, just before it took off. Insiders, meanwhile, did nothing, neither buying nor selling shares.

Based on nothing but fundamentals these bearish funds were making the right call. The company's results have flat-lined. It had net income of just $1.15 million in the last quarter, on revenues of $39.8 million. It looked ready to barely beat last year's $155 million in revenue, and based on the company's market cap of $522 million that's a price-to-sales ratio of about 3.5, which is high even for a tech company.

You shouldn't expect much in the current quarter, either, since the company has to gear up for selling policies through the insurance exchanges and can't book any revenue until the fourth quarter. But as of the end of June the company had almost $90 million in cash and short-term securities. Given the similarity between what it's going to be selling with what it had been selling, and based on its experience in scaling-up traffic, the assumption is that it can handle this new load, which is why it currently sports a P/E ratio of almost 100.

The bottom line is that this is a speculative stock, but it's a speculation that may be worth taking on weakness. That means either taking a few shares with some downside options to limit your risk, or taking some upside options. Given this company's relatively modest float, it has a bare options tree.

The $30 calls with an October 15 date are just $1.15 right now, while the $25 puts on the same date are selling at just 50 cents. Looking ahead to the February 2014 options, which would expire after the policies take effect, we find that there is twice as much open interest to the upside as the downside, with 93 bets on a $35 price.

If you want to bet that the pessimists are wrong, and politically motivated in their economic calls, you can do worse than playing EHTH.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.