In a letter to Gov. Phil Scott and Agency of Human Services Secretary Al Gobeille today, Rights & Democracy called for Vermont to extend the ACA enrollment period beyond Friday's deadline.
Of the 12 state-based exchanges, Vermont and Idaho are the only two in the United States that has not extended the deadline.
Below is a copy of the letter sent to this afternoon by Jessica Early, RN, the Health Care Justice Organizer for Rights & Democracy.
Governor Phil Scott
Al Gobeille, Secretary, Agency of Human Services
December 14, 2017
Gov. Scott and Secretary Gobeille,
Right & Democracy requests that you extend the deadline for enrollment or plan change in Vermont Health Connect (VHC) to beyond the federal deadline of December 15, 2017.
Nationally, open enrollment for 2018 coverage began on November 1, 2017 for individuals and families, but of the 12 states with state-based insurance exchanges, only Idaho and Vermont have yet to extend the enrollment period during which people can select coverage for next year.
State officials say that nearly 27,000 people have signed up for insurance coverage through the state exchange. That’s at least 1,000 fewer people from last year’s enrollment period; a drop that is likely the result of a shorter enrollment period — from three months to six weeks.
Extending the enrollment period allows more uninsured or underinsured Vermonters to gain needed health care coverage by signing up for or switching to a VHC plan. It also provides more time for those who need to renew their coverage to pick the plan that is best for them.
At a time when President Donald Trump and the GOP-led Congress have tried to undermine access to coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it’s essential that Vermont provide its residents with more—not fewer—opportunities to gain access to insurance coverage.
Access to health care is fundamentally an issue of justice and, while we have a long way to go beyond the ACA to win health care as a publicly funded human right for all, we must support people’s ability to get insurance in our existing system while we simultaneously push to create a system with greater access, quality, and equity.
Governor Scott and Secretary Gobeille: we hope that you'll stand with Vermonters by prioritizing and protecting access to health insurance, and take action today to ensure that every Vermonter who wants to enroll in VHC can do so.
Jessica Early, RN, Health Care Justice Organizer
Rights & Democracy