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Will Vt. Health Connect meet deadline? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Will Vt. Health Connect meet deadline?

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

The idea behind Vermont Health Connect is simple: Create an online spot where residents can compare preapproved health plans benefit to benefit.

Two weeks after its launch, the website is faster, but remains glitchy.

Insurance agent Allen Nassif with Northern Benefits says he's advising his clients to wait until more troubleshooting is completed.

"It's quite slow at times. It locks up at times; it freezes at times. I don't want to be the beta-tester; I'm not the tester. My clients don't deserve that," Nassif said.

Nassif says state officials appear to be doing what they can, but he worries faulty software could cause coverage delays come January. The state says about 100,000 Vermonters need to get insurance through Vermont Health Connect by the end of 2014. So far, more than 600 have picked a plan.

Health Access Commissioner Mark Larson says they're on track to begin enrolling customers Nov. 1, but he says they won't meet that deadline if the system isn't 100 percent ready.

"We're going to take every step that we can to make sure that when we bring in that new function, that it's working and Vermonters can take advantage of it," Larson said. "What's most important is that Vermonters who want coverage for January first will be able to have it."

Larson insists that will happen. But Nassif worries about communication problems between multiple systems causing major care problems for patients.

"Will the system work? I'm hoping, I think it's, it's got promise," Nassif said.

If the trickle of plan selections continues, with most putting off enrollment until late-November or early-December, the system will need to be capable of handling a flood.

WCAX News asked for the latest numbers for plan selection Wednesday, but were told that we would have to use the number officials gave us Tuesday. The administration had given it out daily. but will only be update the figure twice a week now.

While administrators say they expect 80,000-100,000 individuals to enroll in an exchange plan in 2014, they say many will not do so in January. That's because those with plans which extend beyond December are allowed to keep them until they expire later in the year.

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