Vermont takes top spot for health access

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Vermont takes top spot for health access

Thu, 12/22/2016 - 4:59pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine A national report released yesterday measures the 50 states on six performance indicators. The Commonwealth Fund concludes that, when it comes to health access and affordability, Vermont is first in the nation. While the entire country has made significant gains in health access since the Affordable Care Act created health insurance marketplaces, Vermont has risen to the top. In 2014 Vermont ranked fourth on the annual scorecard, then moved up to second in 2015 before claiming the top spot this year.

in a statement issued today, Steven Costantino, Commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access said: “It isn’t an accident that Vermont is number one for health access and affordability. From the policymakers who had the foresight to expand Medicaid and Dr. Dynasaur and develop state-based assistance for private insurance, to the state employees and contractors who tirelessly developed and continue to support those health programs, to the community partners who help Vermonters enroll in coverage and get the care they need, there are a lot of people who should take pride in owning a piece of this accomplishment.”

 

In addition to evaluating access to health insurance, the report also examines whether people can afford to use their insurance to get the care they need. The report ranks states on measures such as out-of-pocket health spending relative to income, and whether individuals go without care because of costs. Vermont fared well on all counts and also showed the smallest access gap between rich and poor individuals of any state.  Just eight percent of Vermonters age 18 or over went without care because of costs in the past year. For low-income Vermonters, that rate rose to only nine percent.  Vermont is the only state in the country in which fewer than ten percent of low-income adults went without care because of costs (Massachusetts was second with 13 percent and the national average was 24 percent). 

The report, “A Long Way in a Short Time: States’ Progress on Health Care Coverage and Access, 2013–2015,” came out just days after the mid-point of Vermont Health Connect’s 2017 Open Enrollment.

Open Enrollment began November 1 and runs until January 31. New customers can sign up online, by phone, or in person with an Assister. Current customers have automatically been renewed into 2017 coverage; they are able to call 1-855-899-9600 or click on the Renewals link in their online account at http://VermontHealthConnect.gov to report changes for the 2017 coverage year. Vermonters who want their health plan to be effective February 1 should complete their selection by January 15.

Source: Department of Vermont Health Access. The Commonwealth Fund. 12.22.2016.