One key function of the Exchange is to help individuals determine if they’re eligible for federal subsidies to help offset the cost of premiums.
To do this, a state exchange is connected to a federal data hub that verifies a person’s salary as filed through the recent income tax return.
The eligibility cap for individuals is just under $45,000, for a couple its roughly $60,000 and for a family of four its $92,000.
Darcie Johnston is the director of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom. She wants proof that the state has been certified to use the federal system and she’s filed a formal request to get the pertinent documents.
“I’m doing it because Vermont consumers who have insurance need to have confidence in the system,” said Johnston. “And the system has not yet proven that it works.”
Mark Larson is the commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access. He says Johnston’s allegations have absolutely no merit.
“There is no truth to the speculation that we are not connected to the federal data hub,” said Larson. “Vermonters are using our connection to the federal data hub today through Vermont Health Connect.”
And Larson says the continued criticism, from groups like Johnston’s, is hurting the state’s effort to educate Vermonters about the Affordable Care Act.
“I think the ongoing conversation about this topic is not helpful in providing clear information to Vermonters,” said Larson.
Larson says consumer interest in Vermont Health Connect remains very strong. In the past 4 days more than 30,000 people have logged on to the exchange’s website.