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Vermont Health Connect Starts October 1: Are You Ready?

The kick-off to Vermont Health Connect is less than a week away, and Vermonters are asking a lot of questions about what they need to do.
BURLINGTON - The kick-off to Vermont Health Connect is less than a week away, and Vermonters are asking a lot of questions about what they need to do.

Hotlines have been running for three weeks--and 70 representatives have fielded over 2,600 calls so far.

"The calls tend to be pretty practical; what are the options? What does that mean for them?" said Commissioner Mark Larson.

One common question: Is this for me?

The marketplace is for two groups: small businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees, and individuals/families who don't get insurance through work.

Small businesses are not required to provide coverage to their workers, but can do so if they wish.

Individuals and families, however, are required to get coverage through the marketplace if they are not covered through work.

The options are between Blue Cross Blue Shield and MVP, and there are 18 different plans. You can see the rates below, and also use the subsidy calculator on the Vermont Health Connect website to estimate your premium.

Here's the good news: enrollment starts October 1, but you don't have to cough up the cash next week.

Invoices will be sent out in November, and payments are due by December 15 for small businesses and December 21 for individuals--if you want your coverage to kick-in by the first of the year.

Commissioner Larson says if you don't have coverage in 2014, you will be subject to a federal tax penalty in 2015.

Open enrollment is until March, so you must sign up by then. There are exceptions: a qualifying event like the birth of a child would allow you to enroll outside the enrollment period without facing the penalty.

Here are the rates. Note, these are without factoring in a possible subsidy based on income. For that, head to the subsidy calculator.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Monthly Rates:
Single: Range from $362.34-$582.79
Couple: Range from $724.68-$1,165.58
Parent and Child(ren): Range from $699.32-$1,124.78
Family: Range from $1,018.18-$1,637.64

MVP Monthly Rates:
Single: Range from $366.22-$594.30
Couple: Range from $732.44-1,188.60
Parent and Child(ren): Range from $706.80-$1,147.00
Family: $1,029.08-$1,669.98

The hotlines to call for any questions about rates, billing, eligibility and more are:
Individuals: (855) 899-9600
Small Businesses: (855) 499-9800

Hotline Hours:
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday
8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday

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