Sneak Preview of eHealth's Q4 Results - Analyst Blog

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Shares of eHealth, Inc. ( EHTH ) has been on an uptrend since the private health insurance exchange announced its preliminary results for the fourth quarter and full year 2013 on Jan 8. Its share price has gained nearly 24% since then.

eHealth noted that demand for its Individual & Family Plan (IFP) product increased substantially in the fourth quarter. As such, it estimated that submitted applications for its IFP product surged almost 50% in the fourth quarter. The company also predicted fourth-quarter submitted applications for total Medicare products increased more than 65% while submitted applications for Medicare Advantage product increased more than 35% over the year-ago period.

These are expected to drive fourth-quarter revenues to a range of $53 to $55 million, and in turn, boost full-year revenues to a range of $178 million to $180 million. The top line for 2013 is likely to figure above the company guidance of $168 million to $174 million.

For full year 2013, earnings are estimated to be between 34-41 cents per share, well above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 24 cents. The bottom line may, however, fail to meet the company's guidance of 61-71 cents per share.

Earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for full year 2013 is estimated in the range of $16.0-$18.0 million, below the company's guidance of $23-$29 million.

eHealth estimates fourth-quarter bottom line to range between loss of 3 cents and earnings of 4 cents, shy of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of earnings of 6 cents. EBITDA for the fourth quarter is estimated to be in the range of $1 - $3 million.

With respect to earnings performance, eHealth delivered a positive earnings surprise in one of the last three reported quarters while managing to meet the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the other two. However our proven model does not conclusively show that eHealth is likely to beat earnings this quarter. This is because a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) combined with an Earnings ESP of -83.3% makes prediction difficult.  

Other Stocks to Consider

Some better-ranked stocks in the insurance sector include Arthur J Gallagher & Co . ( AJG ), Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc . ( MMC ) and Assured Guaranty Ltd . ( AGO ). All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

ASSURED GUARNTY (AGO): Free Stock Analysis Report

GALLAGHER ARTHU (AJG): Free Stock Analysis Report

EHEALTH INC (EHTH): Free Stock Analysis Report

MARSH &MCLENNAN (MMC): Free Stock Analysis Report

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Zacks Investment Research

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: AGO , AJG , EHTH , MMC

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