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Vt. Health Connect sees trickle of last minute signups - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. Health Connect sees trickle of last minute signups

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

With just hours remaining before the end of open enrollment for Vermont's online health marketplace, navigators say they only saw a trickle of interest Monday -- after a flood of requests for assistance last week.

As of Monday morning almost 47,000 Vermonters enrolled in a plan directly through Vermont Health Connect -- including 2,300 over last weekend. Those figures do not include tens of thousands covered by an employer-based exchange plan purchased directly from a carrier.

No matter which exchange plan a customer wants -- Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze -- they need to buy it by the end of the day. Midnight marks the end of open enrollment.
     
Many posting on Vermont Health Connect's Facebook page complained of long phone waits and voiced frustration with the process.

"It's been pretty hectic. I think with every deadline that's come along," said Lisa Maynes, a Health Connect Navigator with the Vermont Family Network.  She say they've only seen a trickle of interest Monday following a flood last week. She and her colleagues can handle as many as 20 enrollments per week while still performing their regular duties. "The majority of them say we just want you to help us, we want to get through this process and we feel you're going to help us get through this faster," she said.

Maynes says most of those she saw sought her help without ever trying the website or the process on their own. She says despite the rough rollout, problems can be overcome. "I think we tell people to be patient. There have been some challenges, and it just takes patience and being able to persevere through them," Maynes said.

Health Connect Administrators say they'll make sure anyone who starts the process of picking coverage in time is able to finish - even if they run into problems.

There's no requirement for how many steps need to be completed to get an extension.
Administrators just ask that you let them know of any sign-up issues as soon as possible.

The state's website did not appear to have issues with a high-volume of traffic Monday -- which temporarily shutdown the federal website.

This year those who don't have insurance will face a federal penalty of $95 per adult, or one- percent of their household income, whichever is greater.

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