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Vermont Health Connect costs could hit $200 million

By Morgan True
For Vermont Digger
The backlog of requested coverage changes at Vermont Health Connect has ballooned to more than 11,000 and the cost of completing the exchange is now projected to hit $200 million, according to state officials.
Change requests range from updating an address to reporting new income, new dependents or even just terminating a plan after gaining health insurance through an employer. The exchange has carried a backlog since it launched, and reached a high of 15,000 in August. That number was reduced to a manageable figure prior to this year’s open enrollment, but is now close to 11,200, officials said.
The underlying problem is the cumbersome manual process the state relies upon to make the requested changes, which introduces the potential for human error.
A rash of contingencies that relied heavily on the two participating insurers has largely prevented anyone from losing coverage or experiencing a gap, but many are still dissatisfied with the service.
Vermont is the only state to require individuals to purchase insurance through its exchange, though some lawmakers are hoping to change that, and the Speaker of the House has said time is running out for VHC to fix its problems.

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