Local News, State News

2019 health care enrollment report shows more Vermonters covered

The Department of Vermont Health Access announced recently that enrollment in Vermont’s individual health plans increased to 34,396 in January, up nearly 1 percent from the prior year.

The number of subsidized members and unsubsidized members both increased relative to the prior year. Due to increased federal subsidies for those who qualify, the average subsidized member is paying $131 per month in 2019, compared to $163 in 2018.

The number of subsidized enrollees under age 45 grew by 3 percent. Notably, enrollment grew most among young adults age 26-34 – the age group that the 2018 Vermont Household Health Insurance Survey found most likely to be uninsured. This increase in young adult enrollment more than made up for a slight decrease in enrollees over age 45, mainly attributed to baby boomers turning 65 and moving from commercial coverage to Medicare.

“More Vermonters used the Plan Comparison Tool to comparison shop than ever before,” said Cory Gustafson, commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access. “It’s great that more than 20,000 users were able to access estimates of total costs, not just premiums, and that many people found this tool to be helpful. At the same time, it’s clear that health care continues to be expensive and complicated. We all need to keep working together to equip Vermonters to make the best insurance decisions for their families.”

DVHA reminds Vermonters that there are still opportunities to take action, find the right health coverage, and save money. Specifically:

Members who are near, or just over, the subsidy threshold can talk to a tax professional for advice on qualifying for tax credits and ensuring that they don’t have to pay back the federal government.

On-exchange members who know they earn too much for subsidies can change plan administration directly to their carrier (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont or MVP Health Care) at any time. If they’re in a non-silver plan, the premium and benefits will be the same. If they’re in a silver plan, they can save money by direct enrolling.

Vermonters who have a life event that impacts their health coverage, such as a job change or marriage, may be able to sign up for coverage through a Special Enrollment Period, typically within 60 days.

Vermonters who qualify for Medicaid can enroll anytime.

All Vermonters can continue to use the Plan Comparison Tool and learn about options online at VermontHealthConnect.gov, by phone, toll-free: 855-899-9600, or with one of nearly 300 in-person assisters located across the state.

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