Vt. Health Connect ready for online payments - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. Health Connect ready for online payments

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The wait is over-Vermont Health Connect users can finally make online payments.

Since the web site launched last fall the payment function has been one of Health Connect's biggest problems. Officials took the web site down for a portion of the weekend, to get the payment function up and running. "People can enroll, and as they enroll they can enter their credit card, debit card or ACH check information and have that information be automatically applied to their account. There's no question about whether you're filling out the right amount from the invoice and it's handled immediately," said Vt. Commerce Secretary Lawrence Miller

Timing is important because the open enrollment period for Vermont Health Connect ends on March 31st. However, officials say Vermonters who got to keep their old insurance through March because of all the web site problems should sign up for new coverage by March 15th.

House Minority Leader Rep. Don Turner (R-Milton) says this is progress, but also says Monday's success shouldn't overshadow continuing issues and overall functionality.
"To me, it's just one step where we should have already been before we had it up and live. So I'm happy that we're at this point, but there's still a long ways to go from my perspective to where we can say to Vermonters this is the way to go, this is the way to buy insurance and lets get on Vermont Health Connect to buy our insurance," he said.

Even Secretary Miller says the site still has problems. You cannot update your profile online -- what Health Connect calls "changing your circumstance," and the new upgrades did nothing to fix it.  "It doesn't solve it. It's going to be a while longer before we have automated change in circumstance. That's going to continue to be frustrating for a while," he said.

But officials say the ability to pay online is a step in the right direction.  "Our priority has been on individual enrollment -- making sure every Vermonter as an individual who wants coverage is able to get it. It's been on system stability and making sure we've got the implementation. Basis for going forward is on change of circumstance and finally on small business," Miller said.

Officials want to remind users that there are two important dates to remember -- open enrollment ends on March 31st, but if your 2013 coverage was extended through March 2014, you will need to sign up for a plan by March 15th. This includes those on Catamount or VHAP and sole-proprietors who have yet to sign up for a new plan through VHC.

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