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The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

Businesses Complain About Some Health Exchange Policies

The concerns are being raised because a number of businesses currently have policies with a five thousand dollar family deductible and no out of pocket costs above the deductible.

And as these businesses consider policies that are available on the Exchange, they’re finding that there isn’t anything that’s comparable to their current coverage at a similar price. 

The closest plan they can find contains a family deductible of just under 4 thousand dollars, but the plan also includes a potential out of pocket cap of just over 10 thousand dollars for the family.

Betsy Bishop is the president of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce:

We are starting to hear from a lot of employers who are concerned about the impact that some of the plans will have on their employees - Betsy Bishop, President Vermont Chamber of Commerce

“We are starting to hear from a lot of employers who are concerned about the impact that some of the plans will have on their employees,” said Bishop.

Vermont is the only state in the country that requires all individuals, and small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, to go through the exchange if they want to purchase insurance.

Bishop says it’s disappointing that participation isn’t voluntary so that companies could choose to keep their current coverage.

“Certainly having a mandate has created some problems for employers because they might to continue the type of insurance that they have.”

Mark Larson is the commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access. He notes that consumers who currently don’t have an out of pocket cap will greatly benefit from the new policies.

“Part of the challenge is that as we move forward there will be different plans and some people will find plans that are significantly better than what they’ve had in the marketplace today,” said Larson. “Some people may find it difficult to find a plan that is exactly like what they have today. That is a part of the transition we’re trying to be very respectful of the fact that it does influence people differently.” 

The state’s new health care exchange, which is known as Vermont Health Connect, is scheduled to open for business tomorrow.

Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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