Lawmakers get preview of health benefit exchange 'marketplace'

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Lawmakers get preview of health benefit exchange 'marketplace'

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 7:07am -- admin

by Andrew Stein January 22, 2013 Legislators this week are getting their first peek at the states new health insurance marketplace: Vermont Health Connect.
In 2014 the health benefit exchange will become the government-mandated marketplace for purchasing health insurance. All Vermonters who purchase health insurance independently or through businesses with 50 or fewer employees will be required to buy plans on the exchange.
On Tuesday, Exeter Group Inc. representative Matthew Freeman unveiled the user end of the exchange. Exeter is a subcontractor for CGI, which is designing the information technology side of the states exchange for a base price of $36 million.
The software portal that Vermonters will use to access the exchange looks much like an online marketplace for buying plane tickets or renting a car, similar to Orbitz or Travelocity. But instead of purchasing travel items,Vermonters will purchase insurance plans based on six levels of coverage tailored by the state. Insurance companies will also sell choice plans on the exchange that meet state and federal regulations.
Exeters presentation showed how premiums and coverage might vary within an actuarial level, and the software allows users to compare different plans.
The software also allows users to plug in their income levels or identification credentials, which will automatically deduct various tax credits Vermonters are eligible for from their insurance payments.
Before purchasing a given plan, a final review screen breaks down the costs of monthly premiums and plugs in the tax deductions. Democratic Sen. Claire Ayer, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare, told Department of Vermont Health Access Commissioner Mark Larson at the demo that the state should include potential out-of-pocket maximum expenses on that final screen.
To finish the process, Vermonters will simply enter his or her name in a small box as an electronic signature.
After the meeting, Larson said the state is on track to complete the exchange by October 2013, when the feds mandate its opening.
We have a product that really performs the basic functions of the exchange and now we can figure out how we want Vermonters to interact with that product, said Larson. That gives me confidence that were in the place we should be to get ready for Oct. 1.
Democratic Rep. Mike Fisher, who chairs the House Health Care Committee, said the user interface appeared to be on the right track.
My main feeling was that it was very familiar, he said. Anyone who has ever gone online and created an account to pay their credit card or pay their insurance bill or buy plane tickets has maneuvered through these systems. Some of those systems are clunky and difficult to manage and some are easier to access.
He said that while the state is moving in a positive direction, it still has a lot more work to do.
Its important for us to focus on developing the functionality of this system, and I think this was an important presentation given that theres obviously a lot of work to do in making it understandable, he said. This is a shift for most Vermonters in terms of how they access their health insurance product. I think theres going to be a learning curve, and I want that to go as smoothly as possible.
To help with this transition, the state received $2.2 million in federal dollars last week to fund an in-person assistance program to help Vermonters navigate the health care exchange. In addition to these funds, the state is required by federal law to invest in in the program and carry it forward to continue helping Vermonters use the exchangeLegislators this week are getting their first peek at the states new health insurance marketplace: Vermont Health Connect.
In 2014 the health benefit exchange will become the government-mandated marketplace for purchasing health insurance. All Vermonters who purchase health insurance independently or through businesses with 50 or fewer employees will be required to buy plans on the exchange.
On Tuesday, Exeter Group Inc. representative Matthew Freeman unveiled the user end of the exchange. Exeter is a subcontractor for CGI, which is designing the information technology side of the states exchange for a base price of $36 million.
The software portal that Vermonters will use to access the exchange looks much like an online marketplace for buying plane tickets or renting a car, similar to Orbitz or Travelocity. But instead of purchasing travel items,Vermonters will purchase insurance plans based on six levels of coverage tailored by the state. Insurance companies will also sell choice plans on the exchange that meet state and federal regulations.
Exeters presentation showed how premiums and coverage might vary within an actuarial level, and the software allows users to compare different plans.
The software also allows users to plug in their income levels or identification credentials, which will automatically deduct various tax credits Vermonters are eligible for from their insurance payments.
Before purchasing a given plan, a final review screen breaks down the costs of monthly premiums and plugs in the tax deductions. Democratic Sen. Claire Ayer, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare, told Department of Vermont Health Access Commissioner Mark Larson at the demo that the state should include potential out-of-pocket maximum expenses on that final screen.
To finish the process, Vermonters will simply enter his or her name in a small box as an electronic signature.
After the meeting, Larson said the state is on track to complete the exchange by October 2013, when the feds mandate its opening.
We have a product that really performs the basic functions of the exchange and now we can figure out how we want Vermonters to interact with that product, said Larson. That gives me confidence that were in the place we should be to get ready for Oct. 1.
Democratic Rep. Mike Fisher, who chairs the House Health Care Committee, said the user interface appeared to be on the right track.
My main feeling was that it was very familiar, he said. Anyone who has ever gone online and created an account to pay their credit card or pay their insurance bill or buy plane tickets has maneuvered through these systems. Some of those systems are clunky and difficult to manage and some are easier to access.
He said that while the state is moving in a positive direction, it still has a lot more work to do.
Its important for us to focus on developing the functionality of this system, and I think this was an important presentation given that theres obviously a lot of work to do in making it understandable, he said. This is a shift for most Vermonters in terms of how they access their health insurance product. I think theres going to be a learning curve, and I want that to go as smoothly as possible.
To help with this transition, the state received $2.2 million in federal dollars last week to fund an in-person assistance program to help Vermonters navigate the health care exchange. In addition to these funds, the state is required by federal law to invest in in the program and carry it forward to continue helping Vermonters use the exchangeLegislators this week are getting their first peek at the states new health insurance marketplace: Vermont Health Connect.
In 2014 the health benefit exchange will become the government-mandated marketplace for purchasing health insurance. All Vermonters who purchase health insurance independently or through businesses with 50 or fewer employees will be required to buy plans on the exchange.
On Tuesday, Exeter Group Inc. representative Matthew Freeman unveiled the user end of the exchange. Exeter is a subcontractor for CGI, which is designing the information technology side of the states exchange for a base price of $36 million.
The software portal that Vermonters will use to access the exchange looks much like an online marketplace for buying plane tickets or renting a car, similar to Orbitz or Travelocity. But instead of purchasing travel items,Vermonters will purchase insurance plans based on six levels of coverage tailored by the state. Insurance companies will also sell choice plans on the exchange that meet state and federal regulations.
Exeters presentation showed how premiums and coverage might vary within an actuarial level, and the software allows users to compare different plans.
The software also allows users to plug in their income levels or identification credentials, which will automatically deduct various tax credits Vermonters are eligible for from their insurance payments.
Before purchasing a given plan, a final review screen breaks down the costs of monthly premiums and plugs in the tax deductions. Democratic Sen. Claire Ayer, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare, told Department of Vermont Health Access Commissioner Mark Larson at the demo that the state should include potential out-of-pocket maximum expenses on that final screen.
To finish the process, Vermonters will simply enter his or her name in a small box as an electronic signature.
After the meeting, Larson said the state is on track to complete the exchange by October 2013, when the feds mandate its opening.
We have a product that really performs the basic functions of the exchange and now we can figure out how we want Vermonters to interact with that product, said Larson. That gives me confidence that were in the place we should be to get ready for Oct. 1.
Democratic Rep. Mike Fisher, who chairs the House Health Care Committee, said the user interface appeared to be on the right track.
My main feeling was that it was very familiar, he said. Anyone who has ever gone online and created an account to pay their credit card or pay their insurance bill or buy plane tickets has maneuvered through these systems. Some of those systems are clunky and difficult to manage and some are easier to access.
He said that while the state is moving in a positive direction, it still has a lot more work to do.
Its important for us to focus on developing the functionality of this system, and I think this was an important presentation given that theres obviously a lot of work to do in making it understandable, he said. This is a shift for most Vermonters in terms of how they access their health insurance product. I think theres going to be a learning curve, and I want that to go as smoothly as possible.
To help with this transition, the state received $2.2 million in federal dollars last week to fund an in-person assistance program to help Vermonters navigate the health care exchange. In addition to these funds, the state is required by federal law to invest in in the program and carry it forward to continue helping Vermonters use the exchangeLegislators this week are getting their first peek at the states new health insurance marketplace: Vermont Health Connect.
In 2014 the health benefit exchange will become the government-mandated marketplace for purchasing health insurance. All Vermonters who purchase health insurance independently or through businesses with 50 or fewer employees will be required to buy plans on the exchange.
On Tuesday, Exeter Group Inc. representative Matthew Freeman unveiled the user end of the exchange. Exeter is a subcontractor for CGI, which is designing the information technology side of the states exchange for a base price of $36 million.
The software portal that Vermonters will use to access the exchange looks much like an online marketplace for buying plane tickets or renting a car, similar to Orbitz or Travelocity. But instead of purchasing travel items,Vermonters will purchase insurance plans based on six levels of coverage tailored by the state. Insurance companies will also sell choice plans on the exchange that meet state and federal regulations.
Exeters presentation showed how premiums and coverage might vary within an actuarial level, and the software allows users to compare different plans.
The software also allows users to plug in their income levels or identification credentials, which will automatically deduct various tax credits Vermonters are eligible for from their insurance payments.
Before purchasing a given plan, a final review screen breaks down the costs of monthly premiums and plugs in the tax deductions. Democratic Sen. Claire Ayer, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare, told Department of Vermont Health Access Commissioner Mark Larson at the demo that the state should include potential out-of-pocket maximum expenses on that final screen.
To finish the process, Vermonters will simply enter his or her name in a small box as an electronic signature.
After the meeting, Larson said the state is on track to complete the exchange by October 2013, when the feds mandate its opening.
We have a product that really performs the basic functions of the exchange and now we can figure out how we want Vermonters to interact with that product, said Larson. That gives me confidence that were in the place we should be to get ready for Oct. 1.
Democratic Rep. Mike Fisher, who chairs the House Health Care Committee, said the user interface appeared to be on the right track.
My main feeling was that it was very familiar, he said. Anyone who has ever gone online and created an account to pay their credit card or pay their insurance bill or buy plane tickets has maneuvered through these systems. Some of those systems are clunky and difficult to manage and some are easier to access.
He said that while the state is moving in a positive direction, it still has a lot more work to do.
Its important for us to focus on developing the functionality of this system, and I think this was an important presentation given that theres obviously a lot of work to do in making it understandable, he said. This is a shift for most Vermonters in terms of how they access their health insurance product. I think theres going to be a learning curve, and I want that to go as smoothly as possible.
To help with this transition, the state received $2.2 million in federal dollars last week to fund an in-person assistance program to help Vermonters navigate the health care exchange. In addition to these funds, the state is required by federal law to invest in in the program and carry it forward to continue helping Vermonters use the exchangeLegislators this week are getting their first peek at the states new health insurance marketplace: Vermont Health Connect.
In 2014 the health benefit exchange will become the government-mandated marketplace for purchasing health insurance. All Vermonters who purchase health insurance independently or through businesses with 50 or fewer employees will be required to buy plans on the exchange.
On Tuesday, Exeter Group Inc. representative Matthew Freeman unveiled the user end of the exchange. Exeter is a subcontractor for CGI, which is designing the information technology side of the states exchange for a base price of $36 million.
The software portal that Vermonters will use to access the exchange looks much like an online marketplace for buying plane tickets or renting a car, similar to Orbitz or Travelocity. But instead of purchasing travel items,Vermonters will purchase insurance plans based on six levels of coverage tailored by the state. Insurance companies will also sell choice plans on the exchange that meet state and federal regulations.
Exeters presentation showed how premiums and coverage might vary within an actuarial level, and the software allows users to compare different plans.
The software also allows users to plug in their income levels or identification credentials, which will automatically deduct various tax credits Vermonters are eligible for from their insurance payments.
Before purchasing a given plan, a final review screen breaks down the costs of monthly premiums and plugs in the tax deductions. Democratic Sen. Claire Ayer, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare, told Department of Vermont Health Access Commissioner Mark Larson at the demo that the state should include potential out-of-pocket maximum expenses on that final screen.
To finish the process, Vermonters will simply enter his or her name in a small box as an electronic signature.
After the meeting, Larson said the state is on track to complete the exchange by October 2013, when the feds mandate its opening.
We have a product that really performs the basic functions of the exchange and now we can figure out how we want Vermonters to interact with that product, said Larson. That gives me confidence that were in the place we should be to get ready for Oct. 1.
Democratic Rep. Mike Fisher, who chairs the House Health Care Committee, said the user interface appeared to be on the right track.
My main feeling was that it was very familiar, he said. Anyone who has ever gone online and created an account to pay their credit card or pay their insurance bill or buy plane tickets has maneuvered through these systems. Some of those systems are clunky and difficult to manage and some are easier to access.
He said that while the state is moving in a positive direction, it still has a lot more work to do.
Its important for us to focus on developing the functionality of this system, and I think this was an important presentation given that theres obviously a lot of work to do in making it understandable, he said. This is a shift for most Vermonters in terms of how they access their health insurance product. I think theres going to be a learning curve, and I want that to go as smoothly as possible.
To help with this transition, the state received $2.2 million in federal dollars last week to fund an in-person assistance program to help Vermonters navigate the health care exchange. In addition to these funds, the state is required by federal law to invest in in the program and carry it forward to continue helping Vermonters use the exchange
January 22 2013 VtDigger.org