Vermont, which continues to emerge as a national health care leader, released on Monday the amount it proposes to charge consumers for health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act.
Under the proposed rates, the average cost for an individual would vary from $365.76 for the most basic package to $609.47 for the most comprehensive. Rates for family plans would be higher. People under certain income limits would get federal subsidies to pay for insurance.
Vermont is the first state in the nation to release its proposal for rates under the "health benefits exchange" that the federal law established. The program will be known as Vermont Health Connect. State officials say the publication of the rates will allow Vermonters who plan to seek health insurance through the Affordable Care Act to begin making choices about the coverage they want.
Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance carriers that want to serve Americans through state run health exchanges are required to submit their rates.
Blue Cross Blue Shield and MVP Healthcare have filed their proposals with the Department of Financial Regulation and health officials say they're comparable to current commercial rates.
In Vermont, health officials expect 110,000 people to join Vermont Health Connect because any employer that has 50 employees or fewer is required to buy insurance through the exchange.
Last week, Governor Peter Shumlin said the proposed rates show the progress Vermont is making toward making health care more affordable.
“When I meet with my fellow 49 governors behind closed doors at the National Governors Association, there isn’t a governor sitting around the table who doesn’t agree that it isn’t the governors – the states as laboratories for change –that actually accomplish real cost containment,” Shumlin said. “While the federal bill does many good things, it doesn’t do enough to contain costs.”
Mark Larson, commissioner of the Department of Health Access, said the state is on track for consumers to shop for, compare and purchase plans starting October 1st for coverage that will begin January 1st of 2014. Larson said final decisions on the rates are expected from the Green Mountain Care Board during the summer.
“People will have more information earlier and they’ll have plenty of time to make decisions that are good for them,” he said.
The average individual rates are:
- BRONZE: $365.76
- SILVER: $441.09
- GOLD: $527.95
- PLATINUM: $609.47
You can see the filings here.
The Green Mountain Care Board is inviting the public to comment on the rate filings during public hearings held throughout the state, online and by calling (802) 828-2177. You can also send a letter to the board at 89 Main Street, Montpelier, VT 05620