New Analysis Looks at Causes Of Vermont Health Exchange Woes
Witnesses from two insurers and Vermont Legal Aid all started their remarks to legislators Wednesday by saying positive things about Vermont’s embattled health insurance exchange and the people who run it, but the issues they’re having dominated the meeting. The House Health Care Committee was holding its second hearing to determine whether the state should abandon Vermont Health Connect and move to the federal exchange. ....
Vermont Legal Aid said it’s helpful to have the automated function working again for people who sought to make changes at the beginning of 2016, but the changes for 2015 still need to be worked out.
“The state still can’t process 2015 change of circumstances, so we’re still getting calls and working on cases that haven’t been resolved for 2015 changes,” said Trinka Kerr, the chief health care advocate for Vermont Legal Aid. “And one of the consequences of that is that people are starting to get their tax forms now, the 1095-As, and they will be wrong if their change of circumstance wasn’t properly recorded,” she said.
“We already talk to the Vermont Health Connect staff once a week ... and now we’ve scheduled an additional meeting trying to address tax-related issues,” Kerr said.
Vermont Legal Aid
Kerr testified for the second time in two weeks about customer experiences. She said a woman called her office in tears Tuesday because she was erroneously dropped from her commercial insurance on Vermont Health Connect.
“I think she tried to get some medication and was told that she didn’t have coverage,” Kerr told the committee. “She was saying that she was going onto anxiety medication because it was so stressful.”
The room fell silent when lawmakers heard Kerr tell the story. Lippert closed his eyes and paused for a moment before asking her further questions.
“We’re still seeing a lot of problems,” said Kerr. “We’re still getting slammed with calls. I’ve looked around for some good things to tell you, and there are a few good things.”
She said that even though the number of customer calls to her office increased at the end of 2015, fewer people called last month than in January 2014. But she said her staff is still frustrated “by what they describe as returning cases.”
“The bad things are we’re still getting a lot of calls, and they’re really complicated,” Kerr said. “That’s really frustrating to people, too — the fact that their changes from last year haven’t been resolved.”