Molly Waldstein is VHC Outreach & Education Coordinator at Vermont Health Connect.
Open Enrollment is the annual period when new applicants can use the Vermont Health Connect (VHC) 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.
The 2018 Open Enrollment will be shorter than in past years. It will run from November 1 to December 15, 2017. Members will have a start date of January 1, 2018.
Most Vermonters will find 24 options for qualified health plans. There are four new bronze plans from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) and MVP Health Care (MVP). There are also dental plans from Northeast Delta Dental (NEDD).
Vermonters under 30 may choose a catastrophic plan from either carrier in addition to the 24 other options.
Vermonters who qualify for subsidies can sign up online or by phone with Vermont Health Connect. Those who don’t qualify for subsidies can streamline the process. You may do so by directly enrolling with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) or MVP Health Care (MVP). When you do, you must establish a single point of contact with your insurance carrier.
More than three-quarters of Vermont Health Connect members find that they qualify for subsidies to lower the cost of insurance. The typical individual receives $395 per month toward the insurance plan of their choice. For most uninsured Vermonters, this means it is be cheaper to buy health insurance and gain health care. You avoid paying the federal fee for being uninsured.
What Happens When You Miss the Deadline
Vermonters who miss the deadline could have to wait until January 2019 to start health coverage. That said, those who qualify for Medicaid can sign up throughout the year. Those who qualify for a Special Enrollment Period generally have 60 days to sign up.
Existing members who are happy with their current plan may continue to pay their bill in a timely manner.
Applicants can sign up in one of four ways: online, by phone, by paper, or with an in-person assister. For more information or to get started, visit www.VermontHealthConnect.gov or call 1-877-899-9600.