• State: Most small business workers covered
     | December 10,2013

    MONTPELIER — About three-quarters of Vermont small business employees are enrolled in a health insurance plan that’s part of Vermont Health Connect, and they are set to begin receiving health benefits through the new system next month, the Department of Vermont Health Access said Monday.

    Vermont’s site has been plagued with problems. However, the commissioner in charge of the site, Mark Larson, said the state is on track to meet the goal of ensuring that no one has a lapse in health insurance coverage at the beginning of the year.

    About 39,300 Vermonters and their dependents will be covered through their small business employers as part of the federal reforms.

    “Vermonters who get their coverage through a small business today will have coverage available to them in January without gaps because of the options that have been extended to their employers,” Larson said Monday.

    Other statistics from the department Monday showed:

    n About 29,200 Vermonters will be enrolled in a Vermont Health Connect plan for 2014. About two-thirds of those are covered by a businesses that chose to directly enroll with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont or MVP Health Care, while a third are covered by employers that will be automatically enrolled in a plan that most closely resembles their current coverage.

    n About 5,800 Vermont residents will have their current coverage extended for up to three months because they are covered by an employer that chose that option.

    n About 3,500 residents will have their current coverage extended for up to three months until the payment functions are operational on Vermont Health Connect.

    n About 800 will go through Vermont Health Connect as individuals for January coverage because their employer opted to no longer offer it next year.

    Darcie Johnston, head of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, said the numbers didn’t change her group’s call for a one-year extension of implementing the program.

    “The best thing that Vermont Health Connect did was they got out of the way. Remember, businesses wouldn’t have been in this mess if it hadn’t been for their spectacular failure,” she said. “They’ve still forced businesses to make decisions and choices that may or may not be what they wanted to do and may or may not be the best for their business or their employees.”

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