State News

Shumlin optimistic about Vermont Health Connect deadline

By Morgan True,

WATERBURY CENTER — Gov. Peter Shumlin remains “cautiously optimistic” the state and its contractors will complete the needed functionality for Vermont Health Connect, the state’s troubled health care exchange, by the May 31 deadline.

Shumlin said he receives daily updates on VHC and the progress of its primary contractor, Optum, in automating the process for changing personal or plan information online.

“As you know, with any major technology project you can hit a glitch at any time, but we’re cautiously optimistic” that the state will meet a self-imposedMay 31 deadline, the governor said at a Wednesday, May 27, news conference in Waterbury Center.

He thanked contractors and state employees, who he said are “working their tails off” and have not had a weekend or holiday off for several weeks.

VHC has completed development work and is now testing the new change function, he said.

State officials have said users won’t immediately be able to access the new change function. It will be implemented first on the back end for customer service workers to input changes for users.

While the Sunday deadline is self-imposed, there is contingency language in the recently passed budget providing legislative oversight for a transition to some version of the federal exchange in 2017 if it and another deadline in October are not met.

The October deadline is to automate the renewal process, so that VHC doesn’t have to complete another paper renewal during the 2016 open enrollment period, which begins mid-November.

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