The chairman and founder of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based eHealthInsurance.com, which sells individual, family and small-group online health insurance through multiple carriers, recently encouraged the U.S. Congress to begin using the power of the Internet as a mechanism to provide individuals access to affordable health insurance. Vip Patel, the chairman and founder of eHealthInsurance.com, told 40 Congressional health care policy-makers and staffers at a briefing hosted by House majority leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) that access to affordable health care has become a vexing problem. As a result, Patel encouraged Congress to begin working with private-sector companies, including eHealthInsurance, to cut the percentage of uninsured Americans in half by 2010. The current percentage of uninsured people is 20%.Allstate Expands Direct Program

One year after Northbrook, Ill.-based Allstate Corp. rolled out its multi-access strategy, the carrier has expanded the program to four additional states-Alabama, Maryland, Virginia and Georgia. Allstate's multi-access strategy enables customers to reach the company via a phone call to one of its call centers, by interacting with one of its 13,000 independent agents or by logging onto the Internet at www.allstate.com. The other states that have adopted the program include Arizona, Illinois, Colorado, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio and Oregon.

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