$72 million spent on Vermont Health Connect to date


The state has spent $72 million as of Friday building Vermont Health Connect, the federally mandated online insurance marketplace, according to state officials.

Vermont is one of 12 states plus the District of Columbia that is still working to build its own exchange instead of using the federal healthcare.gov. Of the 16 states and D.C. that applied to build their own exchanges, Nevada was the most recent to scrap its effort in May.

The feds earmarked $4.69 billion in grants for states to build their own exchanges. Vermont has $171 million earmarked for the creation of its exchange. The state has roughly $100 million left to get the job done.

Vermont Health Connect has helped 144,500 Vermonters get health coverage. More than half, 80,400, were enrolled in Medicaid, many as a result of the program's expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

However, the website was launched with significant problems, and eight months later it is still incomplete. State officials said this week that they will continue to rely on the two participating insurance carriers to enroll small businesses throughout the upcoming open enrollment period that begins Nov. 15. There are currently 34,800 people in that group.

There are also 29,300 people in the individual market who purchased commercial insurance. More than half, 62 percent, qualified for subsidies that lower the cost of those plans, though advocates say they are often still difficult to afford.


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