6-4-15 – Vermont Health Connect Stays Alive – Barely

John McClaughry

Last week Gov. Shumlin took pride in announcing that Vermont Health Connect, the state’s health insurance exchange, was successfully upgraded. According to the Governor’s release, “The most notable update is so-called change of circumstance functionality, which will allow customer service staff to process requested changes more quickly.”

It’s worth putting this achievement in perspective. The plan in October 2013 was that a health insurance purchaser, individual or small business, could go to the web site, review available Obamacare approved health insurance plans, select one, supply personal information, make payment, and enroll with Blue Cross or MVP. The website program was supposed to access government databases to determine how much subsidy the purchaser got. It was supposed to work like buying a book onAmazon.com – and all for only $170 million Federal dollars.

What Vermont Health Connect couldn’t do was accept customer information about chance of circumstances, like marriage, death, or new children. Without that updated information, the subsidy couldn’t be calculated.

So Vermont Health Connect ended up firing the lead contractor, hiring a repair contractor, and hiring hundreds of temp workers to take changes over the phone. Small businesses had to go directly to the carrier to buy a company plan.

As of last week, the Governor noted, approximately 10,200 customers were waiting for service requests to be completed.

I suppose this is progress, but the whole project still rates a D for poor service and wasted millions.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda Kirker June 5, 2015 at 11:01 pm

Senior citizens beware when, and if, the Shumlin administration gets a waiver from the Feds to remove senior citizens from Federal Medicare and put them on a Vermont Health system. Those Medicare dollars , I forecast, will not continue to be used for seniors’ health care needs, but will be dispersed to cover non-seniors. Watch out below!! Better contact your legislators and the governor’s office if you want to keep your Medicare coverage intact.

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Ted Robinson June 6, 2015 at 9:33 am

Ms. Kirker is right. The governor is salivating for that cash and it won’t go to seniors who paid for it. If it happens Florida will be my new address.

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