Gov. Shumlin: Deadline for VHC enrollment is Dec. 23, urges Vermonters to sign up now
MONTPELIER -- Dec. 12, 2013 -- Gov. Peter Shumlin today urged Vermont individuals and families to sign up now for health care through Vermont Health Connect (VHC) as the Dec. 23 deadline for January coverage approaches.
The VHC website is working well for individuals and families, and the pace of sign-ups has spiked this week. Over 5,000 Vermonters have signed up through VHC since Monday, representing a third of the total since Oct. 1.
The Governor said that 45,000 Vermonters, or about two-thirds of those affected by federally-mandated health care reforms come January, are already enrolled in a VHC plan for 2014. “We’ve taken steps to ensure every affected Vermonter has a path to coverage in January and beyond,” Gov. Shumlin said. “It’s promising to see two-thirds of those Vermonters enrolled in Vermont Health Connect plans, and a big uptick in the number of Vermonters signing up this week. We still have work to do, but we’re moving in the right direction.”
The deadline to enroll in a plan through VHC is Dec. 23, with payment of January premiums due no later than Jan. 7. Many individuals and families will qualify for financial assistance through VHC. The Governor urged them to log on today to see their coverage options in advance of the Dec. 23 deadline.
Shumlin was joined today by Galen Cheney of Middlesex, who worked with Navigator Peter Sterling to sign up for coverage through VHC. Cheney signed up through the VHC website in early December and has already received an invoice for January coverage, making her one of the over 15,000 Vermonters who has so far signed up for January coverage through VHC.
About 65,000 Vermonters are affected by the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) come January, with two-thirds of those already enrolled in a VHC plan for January. Many of the remaining can enroll immediately, although safeguards are in place to ensure Vermonters who don’t sign up, or who work for small businesses and are waiting on payment functions to launch, have their current coverage extended for up to three months. The attached chart details how affected Vermonters will access coverage in January and beyond:
- About 29,200 Vermonters are covered by an employer that will be directly enrolled in VHC plans through Blue Cross or MVP.
- About 18,000 Vermonters are currently on Catamount or VHAP and can sign up for VHC coverage today, and some have already done so. If these individuals don’t do so by Dec. 23 for January coverage, they will have their current coverage automatically extended for up to three months.
- About 7,200 Vermonters are enrolled in 2013 small business health plans as sole proprietors or businesses with only one covered employee. Many of these Vermonters will now be considered individuals under the federal ACA, meaning they will purchase insurance through VHC on the individual market. With that portion of VHC already operational, these Vermonters can immediately log on, sign up and receive an invoice for January coverage. If they do not, however, their current plans will be automatically extended for up to three months to ensure no lapse in coverage.
- About 5,800 Vermonters will have their current coverage extended for up to three months because they are covered by an employer that chose that option when it was announced by the Governor in early November.
- About 3,500 Vermonters will have their current coverage extended for up to three months until the website payment functions for their group are operational on VHC.
- About 800 Vermonters will go through VHC as individuals for January coverage because their employer decided to no longer offer coverage in 2014. VHC is operational for these individuals. They can log on, select a plan and receive an invoice today for coverage beginning Jan. 1.
Another attached chart shows the quickening pace of sign-ups through Vermont Health Connect in the past weeks.