Small businesses continue to experience frustration with state’s insurance system
Businesses in Vermont have been having some issues with health insurance for the past few years. Vermont is the only state where businesses with 50 or fewer employees must purchase health insurance plans through a specially designed exchange marketplace. The marketplace is meant to serve as an effective and efficient way businesses can provide their employees with insurance coverage, but it has been quite dysfunctional for small companies.
A new insurance exchange system could be a costly issue for the state
The state is now being pressured to change to a new system that could change the way businesses acquire health insurance plans. The Vermont Chamber of Commerce suggests that shifting to this new system may prove to be somewhat problematic for small businesses. These businesses have already been through a three-year transition period, wherein they had to adapt to the existing insurance exchange system.
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Vermont Chamber of Commerce believes that a new exchange system will be an expensive problem for the state
Betsy Bishop, head of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, notes that the state has spent a significant amount of money on forcing employers to use the special exchange system. The problem, however, is that these businesses have reported problems with using the exchange, making it impossible for some to acquire health insurance plans. The new system could face similar problems, and despite the problems that the current system suffers from, state officials are hoping to avoid moving businesses over to a new exchange marketplace.
Federal law requires state to develop an insurance exchange specifically for small businesses
Per the Affordable Care Act, Vermont is required to develop a health insurance exchange designed specifically to serve small businesses. Some state officials suggest that this is a useless endeavor, as the current system is still capable of serving small companies with relative success, despite its faults. The heart of the problem in developing a new insurance exchange lies in the amount of money it would cost to do this. To develop a new exchange specifically for small businesses and connecting it to the state’s existing health insurance exchange infrastructure, which serves consumers, could cost as much as $12 million.