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Vermont board begins PPACA exchange plan rate reviews

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The board overseeing efforts to restructure Vermont’s health insurance system said Monday it has begun reviewing the rates customers will be expected to pay under the Vermont Health Connect exchange.

The Green Mountain Care Board has received recommendations from the state Department of Financial Regulation on the proposed rates to be offered by insurers Blue Cross Blue Shield and MVP, and is expected to set the rates by July 8.

Details of the proposed rates are posted on GMCB’s website: , and a public comment period is open until 5 p.m. next Monday, June 17.

The board also has set two public hearings on the rates at the Statehouse next week. MVP rates will be discussed from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Blue Cross rates from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday.

“The rates translate into the premiums many Vermonters will pay for health insurance when the exchange goes live on January 1, 2014,” the Green Mountain Care Board said in a statement. “The exchange will serve about 100,000 Vermonters who obtain insurance through employers with fewer than 50 employees or obtain coverage on their own, without employer support.”

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or state agencies to set up exchanges, or Web-based health insurance supermarkets, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia by Oct. 1.

The exchanges are supposed to sell health plans — “qualified health plans” (QHPs) — that meet PPACA benefits package and benefits value requirements.

Vermont is setting up its own exchange program, and lawmakers have decided that all of the state’s individual and small-group health insurance sales should be made through the exchange system.

The QHP coverage sold through the exchange system is supposed to start taking effect Oct. 1.

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