Big changes are coming to enrolling in health insurance in Vermont. Starting October 1, Vermont Health Connect, Vermont's health benefit exchange, will be the new way individual Vermonters and their families, as well as small businesses with up to 50 full time employees, enroll in our public health care programs and in private insurance plans. Through Vermont Health Connect, Vermonters will be able to find out if they are eligible for a public health insurance program or for financial help to lower the cost of premiums and out-of-pocket costs in private health insurance plans. Financial help will be available to most Vermonters: individuals with income up to about $46,000/year, couples with income up to about $62,000/year and familes of 4 with income up to about $94,000/year.
Vermont's public health care programs will be changing. Eligiblity for Medicaid is expanding so more Vermonters will be able to enroll. Dr. Dynasaur is not changing and will stay the same. Our current VHAP and Catamount Health programs end December 31, 2013. Vermonters enrolled in VHAP or Catamount Health will either be eligible for Medicaid or a private insurance plan with financial help through Vermont Health Connect.
The Vermont Health Connect web site, VermontHealthConnect.gov, is an excellent source of up-to-date information, including a calculator to estimate financial help, Frequently Asked Questions, detail on the benefits that will be covered, and scheduled public outreach and education events. Vermont Health Connect has established a statewide network of Navigator organizations to help provide one-on-one assistance to help Vermonters and small businesses understand all the available options through Vermont Health Connect and to enroll in public programs and private health insurance. The list of Navigator organizations and contact information is on the web site.
The Vermont Campaign for Health Care Security Education Fund is a Navigator organization and can provide more detailed information and assistance. Their web site is www.catamounthealth.org and toll free number is 866-482-4723.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont will be holding an informational session on heart health and the Exchange on August 17th from 10am-2pm at the Blue Mall on Dorset Street in South Burlington with speakers including AHA volunteer and cardiologist Dr. Walter Gundel. The event is free and open to the public.