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No matter your health condition — super healthy, looking to start a family, juggling your own health needs with those of your kids, taking preventive steps, or managing a chronic condition — having health insurance can provide peace of mind.

Health insurance is available. Even if you don’t get health insurance as an employment benefit, you can access insurance through a state exchange. During open enrollment in Vermont, now through Dec. 15, Vermonters can sign up for or change their health and dental plans for the coming year. Coverage will begin on Jan. 1, 2023. Coverage will begin on Feb. 1, 2023 for people who enroll later, between Dec. 16, 2022 and Jan. 15, 2023.

It’s less expensive than you think. Thanks to a new law that extends financial help through 2025, Vermonters can get lower-cost health plans that cover preventive care like mental health services and annual check-ups. Tens of thousands of Vermonters already use this financial help, called subsidies or federal tax credits, to buy insurance through Vermont Health Connect. More than 90 percent of people who are enrolled through the health insurance marketplace qualify for financial help. About 25 percent of enrollees pay less than $25 a month for their health plans, and 10 percent pay less than $10 a month.

The system is designed to be easy to use. You sign up for an account and share information about your household. You will be screened to see if you are eligible for subsidies to help pay for a health plan. Then you can use the site’s Plan Comparison Tool to choose the plan that meets your financial and medical needs.

Help is available, if you need it. Professionally trained assisters work for various agencies in the community such as hospitals, health care providers, and community-based organizations. They can answer questions and walk you through an application. SVMC has two assisters ready to help with this process here on campus and are currently making appointments with patients. Call 802-447-4502 to make an appointment. You can also find an assister through the Department of Vermont Health Access. Visit info.healthconnect.vermont.gov/find-local-help/assister-faq.

Vermonters can learn more by visiting www.VermontHealthConnect.gov, calling the Customer Support Center at 1-855-899-9600, or contacting an in-person Assister near you.

Jennifer Helferich is the assistant director of Revenue Cycle at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington.


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