What Is Vermont Health Connect?
As of October 1, 2013, Vermonters now have a new way to find a health insurance plan that meets their needs and budget: Vermont Health Connect.
Vermont Health Connect is a ‘health insurance exchange’ that provides Vermonters with options for purchasing health insurance plans. There are two health insurance companies and one dental insurance company that Vermont has approved to offer the plans: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont and MVP Healthcare. Together, they offer over a dozen health plans, and Delta Dental offers dental insurance plans. To check out the various plans go to the Vermont Health Connect website.
Who Is Vermont Health Connect For?
Vermont Health Connect is for individuals, families and small businesses in Vermont. This includes:
- Vermonters who do not have health insurance
- Vermonters who currently purchase insurance for themselves
- Vermonters who have Medicaid or Dr. Dynasaur
- Vermonters who are on Catamount or the Vermont Health Access Program
- Vermonters who are offered “unaffordable” coverage by their employers
- Small businesses in Vermont that provide coverage for their employees
In 2014, many Vermonters will be eligible for tax credits and other forms of financial assistance to help pay for the cost of health care.
Starting in 2014, small businesses with 50 or fewer employees will be able to use Vermont Health Connect to find coverage for their employees. In 2016, small businesses with 100 or fewer employees will be able to offer coverage for their employees through Vermont Health Connect.
When Can I Start Using Vermont Health Connect?
Vermonters will be able to start using Vermont Health Connect in late 2013. The first open enrollment period will run from October 2013 to March 2014. Health care for all plans will start January 1, 2014.
If you want to meet with someone to help explain Vermont Health Connect, its options and how to choose a plan through the website there is help. In every community there are organizations that have staff that have been trained as Navigators. A Navigator can sit down with you; explain the different health plans, and what state financial support you qualify for. Here are a list and phone numbers of the organizations in Rutland County that have Navigators:
- Rutland Community Health Center: 802.773.3386
- CHCRR Pediatrics: 802.773.9131
- Castleton Family Health Center: 802.468.5641
- Brandon Medical Center: 802.247.6305
- Mettowee Valley Family Health Center: 802.645.0580
- Rutland Regional Medical Center: 802.747.1648
- Planned Parenthood Rutland Health Center: 802.775.2333
- Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce (supporting small businesses): 802.773.2747
- Rutland Free Clinic: 802.775.1360
- BROC – Community Action in Southwestern VT: 802.775.0878
Call a Navigator to set up an appointment to find out what your options are.
It is important to act early so that you stay covered. Enrollment starts on October 1st for coverage that will start on January 1, 2014. In order for coverage to start on January 1st you need to choose your plan and pay any premium by December 15th.
Why Vermont Health Connect & Why Now?
More than 200,000 Vermonters do not have health insurance or enough health insurance to protect them from high medical expenses. At the same time, health care costs are rising quickly with no end in sight. Vermont is working hard to improve the State’s health care system.
The State’s health reform goals are to:
- Reduce health care costs and cost growth
- Assure that all Vermonters have access to and coverage for high quality care
- Improve the health of Vermont’s population
- Assure greater fairness and equity in how we pay for health care
Vermont Health Connect is a part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA requires that all states build an exchange. If they do not, the federal government will create one for them. Since Vermont has decided to build its own exchange, Vermont Health Connect will be designed just for Vermonters.
Vermont Health Connect is a step toward a “single-payer” health care system where all Vermonters will have health care. The new, unified health care system will be called Green Mountain Care.
These changes will make finding health coverage easier and affordable.
Learn more at VermontHealthConnect.gov.