Vermont Health Connect is set to launch Tuesday. "We will go live with a new online marketplace for Vermonters to be able to compare health insurance plans side-by-side, to be able to access financial help if they qualify, and for them to be able to enroll in a plan that will provide coverage for themselves and their families," said Vt. Health Access Commissioner Mark Larson.
The marketplace is designed to make sure all Vermonters have access to health insurance and was born from the federal Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
"We are very concerned that 'go live' is never going to go live and that Vermonters are in Jeopardy of not having healthcare coverage come January 1st," said Darcie Johnston with Vermonters for Healthcare Freedom. He group is calling for the program's implementation to be pushed back a year -- citing IT problems. The Shumlin administration is now paying the IT company, CGI, $84 million - twice the original contract. And CGI has missed key deadlines for starting the new web based exchange, including not being able to accept payments until November. "This is an incredibly expensive IT system that is overbuilt, that doesn't work, and the Governor needs to tell Vermonters what's what," Johnston said.
Tuesday Johnston's group will start reaching out to Vermonters with phone calls, encouraging them to voice their concerns.
Mark Larson says he and his team are testing the online exchange around the clock and that it's ready to roll. He says a month delay in allowing Vermonters to pay for insurance is not a big concern since coverage does go into effect until January first. He challenges recent criticisms from opponents, like former GOP gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock, who say the system is not ready. "I wouldn't be able to stand here today if we were not able to connect to the federal data hub and share information securely with it, so I feel that is one example of a statement that was made that was not accurate," Larson said.
The Vermont Health Connect website is already seeing about 20,000 hits a week. Larson says the state is ready for additional traffic Tuesday morning when roughly 70 people will staff the call center designed to help people navigate their health coverage options. "We have worked hard to make sure that on day one, Vermonters will be pleased with the product we are putting out there, but we also expect their feedback," Larson said.
Larson says people who choose a plan Tuesday can expect to be billed in about a month. He expects about 100,000 people to sign up for private plans this calendar year.
Friday, March 7 2014 9:00 AM EST2014-03-07 14:00:02 GMT
The state of Vermont released new evidence in hopes of keeping a Manchester woman behind bars. Fifty-year-old Patricia Kane was arrested on charges of interfering with the custody of a minor in January.More >>
The state of Vermont released new evidence in hopes of keeping a Manchester woman behind bars.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 11:41 PM EST2014-03-07 04:41:04 GMT
The Randolph man who admitted to murdering his niece in 2008 will be sentenced this spring. In August Michael Jacques struck a deal with federal prosecutors. He gave up his right to an appeal and pleadedMore >>
The Randolph man who admitted to murdering his niece in 2008 will be sentenced this spring.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 11:40 PM EST2014-03-07 04:40:13 GMT
It's a real estate deal between UVM and the Queen City that could end up kicking some non-profits to the curb. The Burlington School District voted Thursday night on half of the multi-million dollar deal.More >>
It's a real estate deal between UVM and the Queen City that could end up kicking some non-profits to the curb.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 7:53 PM EST2014-03-07 00:53:09 GMT
'Tis the season-- as winter winds down frost heaves and potholes arrive. The ups and downs of the 2014 winter can be seen and felt. No route or road is spared. And just adding to the frustration-- theMore >>
The deep freeze is making for some rough roads across our region and it's also contributing to a fuel shortage. Shelby Cashman has more.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 7:56 PM EST2014-03-07 00:56:36 GMT
The pothole problem knows no boundaries. Our neighbors to the north are also dealing with rough roads. The Quebec Transportation Ministry budgeted $260 million for winter road maintenance. But crews haveMore >>
Our neighbors to the north are also dealing with rough roads.More >>