For decades, Vermont has been a pioneer in health reform – working to make quality, affordable health care an option for all Vermonters. In 2010, the federal health care law was passed, which gave states the opportunity to build a health insurance marketplace called an exchange. Vermont Health Connect is Vermont’s exchange. The state’s decision to build Vermont Health Connect is just another step toward the creation of a health system that provides comprehensive, accessible coverage for all Vermonters.
What is Vermont Health Connect?
Vermont Health Connect will be a marketplace where individuals, families and small businesses in Vermont can compare public and private health plans and select one that fits their needs and budget.
Every plan offered through Vermont Health Connect must offer basic services. This includes checkups, emergency care, mental health services and prescriptions. Beginning in October 2013, Vermont Health Connect will offer easy-to-understand, side-by-side comparisons of each plan’s costs and benefits. Vermont Health Connect will simplify the health insurance world for many Vermonters by serving as the one place to access public programs and financial assistance, such as federal tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies.
Online, Vermonters will find all the Vermont Health Connect information they need. For those who are uncomfortable with the internet or want personal assistance selecting a health plan they can call the Customer Support Center or contact a Navigator or broker.
Who can use Vermont Health Connect?
Individuals, families and small businesses in Vermont will get their health coverage through Vermont Health Connect. 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 currently have Catamount or Vermont Health Access Program
• Vermonters who are offered “unaffordable” coverage by their employers
• Small businesses in Vermont that provide coverage for their employees
Starting 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.
Also, 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 will include businesses with 100 or fewer employees.
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. For those who enroll by December 15, 2013, health coverage will start January 1, 2014. Starting in 2014, Vermont Health Connect will be the one place where individuals and small businesses in Vermont can get health insurance.
Small businesses who currently offer health insurance will be able to browse Vermont Health Connect starting October 2013, but their open enrollment date will vary depending on the anniversary date of their current health insurance plan. Small businesses will have 30 days prior to that anniversary date to enroll their employees through Vermont Health Connect.
Download a copy of the Vermont Health Connect overview handout to share the basics with family, neighbors and colleagues.
Vermont Health Connect is administered by the Department of Vermont Health Access, a part of the Agency of Human Services. Currently, the Department of Vermont Health Access manages Green Mountain Care, a family of coverage programs and the official State of Vermont website for health insurance. It includes plans such as Catamount Health, VHAP, Dr. Dynasaur, Medicaid, and a number of pharmacy assistance and premium assistance programs. Vermonters seeking health coverage today can visit GreenMountainCare.org for more information. Individuals and families who use these plans today will use Vermont Health Connect in the future.
To learn more about health reforms in Vermont, visit the Vermont Health Reforms page on our website.
To learn more about the federal health care law, visit the Affordable Care Act page on our website.