Health Connect insurers seek to raise premiums

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MONTPELIER — The Green Mountain Care Board has begun considering requests to raise health insurance premium prices for individual and small employer plans, including Vermont Health Connect plans, Vermont Legal Aid said Monday. These plans cover nearly 80,000 Vermonters.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont asked to raise next year's premium prices by 15.6 percent, on average, VLA said. MVP Health Care asked to raise premium prices by 10.2 percent on average. The price increases vary by plan.

The Green Mountain Care Board must consider public comments when deciding the 2020 premium prices. VLA has provided a webpage — www.vtlawhelp.org/how-public-can-participate-0 — to help people to submit comments to the board. The comments will be part of the public record.

"The board will hear from insurance executives, actuaries and lawyers; they need to hear from you too," Mike Fisher, Vermont's chief health care advocate, said in a media release. "Last year, 197 Vermonters submitted public comments for the Vermont Health Connect premium review process and the Green Mountain Care Board referred to these comments in their decision. We're glad to help Vermonters understand the process, so everyone has a voice."

The public comment period for these plans ends in late July.

Vermonters with premium subsidies may pay more or less next year. For these Vermonters, changes to how much they have to pay are mostly based on income, family size and which plan they choose during the next open enrollment.

For information about health insurance, health care access, or about how to submit a public comment, contact the Office of the Health Care Advocate at 1-800-917-7787.

The Office of the Health Care Advocate is a project of Vermont Legal Aid. The HCA provides free help to all Vermonters with questions or problems with health insurance or access to health care. The HCA works to improve Vermonters' access to quality affordable health care through individual and systemic advocacy.

Vermont Legal Aid is a non-profit law firm that provides legal advice and services to individuals and families throughout Vermont who are facing a civil legal problem that threatens their rights, shelter, job, health, or well-being. VLA began serving clients in 1968.

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