Unlike a number of other states in the country with only a single carrier option this year, Vermont has two. Aside from this, residents can also expect an approved rate increase average far lower than the nationwide median. And while you can expect to pay higher towards your premiums compared to last year, you still have several ways to save without compromising your coverage.

In this guide, you’ll learn about the most important changes to health insurance in the state, including the factors that helped prevent exorbitant hikes in rates, as well as premium estimates.

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How VT has done in health rankings

VT continues to change for the better, and one aspect it fares exceptionally in is its overall health rating. The 2015 Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance backs this up, showing that the state deserves first place, alongside Minnesota. It received a score of 1 in the indicators Access, Prevention & Treatment, Healthy Lives, and Equity, and a 2 in Avoidable Hospital Use & Costs. Here’s a quick look on how it performed in the Healthy Lives category:

  • Mortality amenable to healthcare: 57 out of 100,000 people

  • Breast cancer fatalities: 18.5 out of 100,000 women

  • Colorectal cancer fatalities: 14.3 out of 100,000 people

  • Percentage of adult smokers: 16%

  • Adult obesity: 25%

  • Obesity in children aged 10-17: 25%

As for its performance in the Access indicator, its scorecard revealed the following:

  • 7% of adults (19 to 64 years old) don’t have insurance, compared with the national average of 15%

  • 9% of children (infants to 18 years old) are uninsured, as opposed to the countrywide average of 6%

  • 12% of the adult population chose not to obtain insurance due to the high costs associated with it

  • 12% of adults had expensive out-of-pocket medical bills

96% of the population has become insured

One thing that the citizens of the Green Mountain State have to thank for is the continuous decrease in the state’s uninsured rating. This has no doubt aided the state in mitigating exponential rate increases.

In 2010, the number of people who went without insurance here represented 8.0% of the population, according to a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services study. It dropped by 4.2% in 2015, boosting the percentage of insured population to 96.2%. In other words, 26,000 of its then estimated population of 626,042 (2015, latest data1), obtained insurance throughout the duration of the five-year study.

Approved rate increase

The entire country was subjected to rate increases this year. Nationwide, these hikes averaged at 25%. For Vermont though, the overall increase in the rates is much lower, averaging only at 5.5%. Make sure you still take the time to compare offers, as some insurers in the state exchange have higher approved increases.

Premium estimates

It’s vital that you also obtain estimates before you finalize your decision. This way, you have something to compare to, which can help you avoid purchasing a plan that comes with too high premiums. Below are sample premium averages for your reference, as taken from the tier-based premiums listed in the Vermont Health Connect.  For singles choosing a standard plan holder, expect any of the following premium average projections (before subsidy):

  • Bronze: Average monthly premium of $424.47

  • Silver: Average monthly premium of $521.33

  • Gold: Average monthly premium of $602.91

  • Platinum: Average monthly premium of $679.99

References:

https://www.healthinsurance.org/vermont/

http://datacenter.commonwealthfund.org/scorecard/state/47/vermont/

https://aspe.hhs.gov/compilation-state-data-affordable-care-act

http://info.healthconnect.vermont.gov/sites/hcexchange/files/2017Plan%20Designs%20with%20Final%20Rates.pdf

1Latest data: The U.S. census is conducted every 10 years as per requirement of the United States Constitution. The 23rd edition and the latest data is the 2010 United States Census. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_States_Census
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