North Country News
12:30 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Officials Defend Health Exchange Website as Opponents Call for Implementation of Contingency Plan

Officials with the administration of Governor Peter Shumlin are defending the performance of the Vermont Health Connect insurance exchange website, saying its performance is improving despite serious technical glitches since its launch October 1st.

The Vermont Health Connect website is a platform for people to buy health insurance in accordance with the federal health overhaul. It has had glitches similar to the federal exchange’s problems since it went up at the beginning of the month. Director of Health Care Reform Robin Lunge notes that while Vermonters may still experience error messages, a number of improvements have been made to the site.

Vermont League of Cities and Towns Executive Director Steven Jeffrey notes that as employers, municipalities must sign up on the exchange. Officials have raised a series of concerns as they go through the two-step process to set up the accounts that allow employees to access accounts.

Vermont House Republican Leader Don Turner says his caucus did not support the law but do not want to stand in the way of Vermonters’ access to health care coverage. Turner says they have been patient with the multitude of the exchange’s problems until this week.

That contingency is a provision in the law that allows current policies to extend beyond January 1st.
Vermont Public Interest Research Group Consumer Protection Advocate Falko Schilling says that call is premature.

Vermonters for Health Care Security Executive Director Peter Sterling says any glitches in the website now will not affect the overall enrollment in the exchange.

According to Robin Lunge approximately 86,000 Vermonters have visited the website, more than 7,000 created an account and more than 1,400 Vermonters have selected a plan.

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