Open enrollment for Vermont Health Connect, the state’s health insurance marketplace, started Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 15. The start date for new members is Jan. 1.
Open Enrollment is the annual period when new applicants can use the marketplace to sign up for health and dental plans for the coming year. It is also the time that existing members have the option to change plans. Existing members who want to stay in the same plan may simply continue to pay their bills on time and they will automatically be renewed into the 2018 version of their current plan.
Vermonters who qualify for subsidies can sign up with Vermont Health Connect either online, by phone, or with one of more than 150 in-person assisters located across the state. Vermonters who don’t qualify for subsidies can streamline the process by direct enrolling with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont or MVP Health Care.
Most Vermonters will find 24 options for qualified health plans – including four new bronze plans – from BCBSVT and MVP, as well as dental plans from Northeast Delta Dental. Those who are under 30 years old have the option of choosing a catastrophic plan from either carrier in addition to the 24 other options.
More than three-quarters of Vermont Health Connect members qualify for subsidies to lower the cost of insurance, with the typical individual expected to receive $395 per month toward their 2018 insurance plan. For most uninsured Vermonters, it is cheaper to buy health insurance and gain health care than to pay the federal fee for being uninsured and risk costs from an accident or unexpected illness.
Vermonters who miss the Dec.15 deadline to enroll could have to wait until January 2019 to start health coverage. Those who qualify for Medicaid can sign up throughout the year.
The Office of Health Care Advocate can assist consumers with the health-coverage process regardless of income or health insurance status. HCS’s services are free. Call 1-800-917-7787 or online at vtlawhelp.org/vtlegal_gethelp.
For more information: VermontHealthConnect.gov.