Connecting Vermonters with Health Care Coverage
The number of people with health insurance has increased significantly in recent years, with more than 20 million Americans gaining health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act. Vermont has some of the lowest uninsured rates in the country, and now, during the Open Enrollment period for Vermont Health Connect, is the time to build on this progress.
“Vermont hospitals believe that health care coverage is an essential part of achieving our vision of a healthy, vibrant Vermont,” said Jeff Tieman, Vermont Association for Hospitals and Health Systems (VAHHS) president and CEO. “Coverage improves access to care, improves health outcomes, incentivizes appropriate use of health care resources, and reduces financial strain on individuals and families.”
Vermont Health Connect’s open enrollment period is the time to enroll in a health insurance plan or make changes to an existing health plan. This year, open enrollment started earlier than in previous years and will last for an abbreviated amount of time. During this truncated enrollment period, Vermont hospitals are again leading the way, connecting Vermonters with health care coverage.
At Central Vermont Medical Center, navigators are providing in-person meetings with patients to assist with enrollment. “Providing free in-person assistance to our community during Vermont Health Connect’s open enrollment period is just one more way we demonstrate our commitment to optimizing health outcomes and improving our population’s health,” said Anna T. Noonan, President and Chief Operating Officer.
In Rutland, the hospital has initiated a public media campaign to get the word out and connect those in need with enrollment assistance. “Rutland Regional Medical Center (RRMC) has worked hard to enroll individuals in the Health Care Exchange or Medicaid if they are eligible,” said Tom Huebner, RRMC president and CEO. “We have promoted it through social media and other mechanisms. Most importantly our financial counselors have helped so many people through this process. We strongly believe access to health care is a key to the health of our community.”
For North Country Hospital in Newport, Vermont, reaching their community with timely and engaging information has been the focus. Ads running in local newspapers and online have provided the community with more information and concrete action steps. Claudio Fort, President & CEO of North Country Hospital added, “This year, our enrollment efforts are more important than ever before to sustain coverage gains and encourage new enrollment. We have taken a proactive role, informing our community of the shorter enrollment period and having four navigators available to meet with patients to enroll them in the best plan for their circumstances.”