Waiting for the other shoe to drop on Vermont’s health care exchanges

by Robert Maynard

Today information came out regarding the cost and coverage for 2014 of Vermont’s health care exchanges.  This information was covered in a Kaiser Health News article.  The big claim being that thee will be no “rate shock”:

After years of anticipation, Vermont became the first state Monday to publish proposed 2014 individual health insurance rates under the federal health law. Despite Republican and insurers’ predictions, there was no “rate shock” in the new premiums, according to the Vermont governor’s office and insurance representatives.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont and MVP Health Care submitted plans with monthly premiums that range from an average of $265 for catastrophic coverage for young adults to $609 for platinum coverage, which has the lowest cost-sharing among four categories of plans.

At least one on TNR’s readers is not buying the no rate shock argument, noting that their “premiums are up 15.9% for next year in addition to the 12.6% increase on Jan 1, 2013!”  In addition to their own particular experience contradicting what is being presented, the following more general concern was expressed by this same reader:

I still want to see the reimbursement rates to see if many providers will take my exchange insurance.  There has been national speculation that “exchange insurance” will reimburse between Medicare & Medicaid!  Out of state hospitals and clinics if not private have to take Medicaid and Medicare, but they do NOT have to take my lowly reimbursing insurance! Half of this puzzle is missing….what is the reimbursement???

More skepticism about the claims of savings were expressed by Darcie Johnston of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom in a WCAX article.  In response to claims of savings on premiums made by a family of four making $34,000 per year, raised the following red flags:

Officials with Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, a group that has criticized the administrations approach, says the examples they came up with look good on paper, but don’t reflect reality. “Since the average family is making $66,000 and the examples that the administration put forth are much lower, then that it’s really hard to tell what, if any, savings there are or if these plans cost more,” said the group’s Darcy Johnston

Specifically, the group is worried about where the bulk of the savings come from — a federal tax credit. “This house of cards is built on the fact that these federal tax credits will be coming back to the state, but we’ve got a federal government that is not exactly flush with cash,” Johnston said.

It looks like some are still waiting for the other shoe to drop when it comes to information about Vermont’s health care exchanges.

2 thoughts on “Waiting for the other shoe to drop on Vermont’s health care exchanges

  1. Are there only 2 insurance plans available to us in the exchange?

    What happens to us under Vermont 65 Blue that many of us have as a supplement to Medicare ??

    Such a disaster these April Fools in Montpelier are driving us into. What happens if my doctors are across the border in NY?

  2. Interesting, because the WSJ lists VT as one of the 17 States having signed on to adopt the Federal HIX model, whereas the above indicates that it hasn’t, quite.

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