Town halls help residents navigate health insurance to take advantage of Biden’s US bailout dollars

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The passage of the US bailout brings in more than $ 25 million in federal funds to the people of Vermont. Vermont Health Access officials on Wednesday explained how people who buy health plans in the state’s health insurance market could benefit.

“It means a lot more financial aid for a lot more people,” said Seán Sheehan, senior policy and implementation analyst for the Department of Vermont Health Access, at the first of six scheduled virtual meetings.

Under the new legislation, Vermonters will be able to change their health insurance plan any time before August 15. Vermont Health Connect members could switch to a new insurance company, a new medal tier (bronze, silver, gold or platinum), or a new plan within the same company, Sheehan said. Such changes are usually only an option at the start of the year or in light of a major life event that affects insurance, such as a wedding.

“While the US bailout has not been a normal life event for any of us, it does impact when we can choose a new plan,” Sheehan said.

Wednesday’s event was the first in a series of six town halls that will be held throughout the summer and fall to help Vermonters understand the impact of the new legislation and take advantage of the potential savings. on health insurance.

The American Rescue Plan has changed the way some insurance plans work, especially the state money plan. For example, Vermonters might be interested in switching their plans to take advantage of benefits they weren’t entitled to before. Vermont Health Connect has a plan comparison tool on its website to help members determine which plan might be best for them in light of the US bailout, officials said.

Even for members who have no interest in changing plans, the US bailout will provide some financial relief, especially for those with families.

In addition to helping Vermonters navigate changes to their insurance, the state’s health department is also making a big effort to publicize these changes. At the meeting, Sheehan and his colleague Zach Goss, a healthcare training and communication manager, encouraged residents to access an educational toolkit and help inform neighbors and friends about changes in ‘insurance.

“Vermont has one of the lowest uninsured rates in the country,” Sheehan said. “We want to build on this. “

The next town hall will be held virtually on Wednesday July 28 at noon and will focus on access to insurance for currently uninsured Vermonters.

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