On October 1, the Vermont Health Connect (VHC) website will be ready for you!
The first question it will ask: “Do you have health insurance though an employer?”
If you answer “No,” there is a second question: “How old are you?”
If you are 65 or older, it will say: “You are covered by Medicare.” You will be able to click on a button and go to the Medicare application website.
If you are 64 or younger it will ask: “How many people in your household?”
The website will then tell you: “If your household income is below (it will spell out the specific amount based on your household size), you may qualify for a tax credit in 2014.” Those with household incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty level may qualify.
Some samples of who will qualify for the tax credits: A single person making less than $45,960; a couple making less than $62,040; a family of four making less than $94,200. (These are based on 2013 estimates and may change slightly for 2014.) How much you make is listed on your taxes as your modified adjusted gross income. This is the figure Vermont will use.
On top of the Vermont state tax credits, there will be some federal subsidies for out-of-pocket expenses for households making less than 250% of the federal poverty level. Tax credits will be available for any person buying their own insurance whose household income is below 400% of the federal poverty level, but not for those who get insurance through their work.
By following website prompts, you will be directed to a page where you can compare health insurance plans. After you input your modified adjusted gross income, the website will figure in the tax credits, and let you know your monthly bill for each plan. When you are ready, you can then choose and purchase your own health insurance.
All plans offer 10 categories of essential health benefits and the following applies: Any person up to age 26 can be on their parents’ plan. Preventive care does not have any co-pays.
There will be tax credits and out-of-pocket limits as noted above.
There are four types of qualified health plans: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. The higher monthly premium you pay, the more is covered and the less you spend on your own out-of-pocket costs and co-pays. On the website you will be able to compare plans side by side and evaluate what is best for you and your family.
There will be a lot of resources available to assist you with your health insurance purchase either by Internet, phone or in person.
If you have purchased health insurance through a broker in the past, he or she will still be able to assist you.
In addition, “navigators” will be trained and available to help you figure out which plan is best for you, and to help you enroll.
There will also be a Vermont Health Connect call center to help you use the website and understand health insurance options.
You have from October 1, 2013 until March 31, 2014 to enroll in this plan. If you don’t, there will be a tax penalty.
If you have questions now, please email email@example.com.
Lineberger is a member of the Green Mountain Care Board Advisory Committee and the Medicaid and Exchange Advisory Board. Please feel free to contact her via email, Julie@LineSync.com.