MVP Health Care

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Health insurers seek rate increases

MONTPELIER — Vermont’s largest health insurer is asking regulators to approve a double-digit increase in premiums as it deals with myriad cost pressures. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont has filed its requested 2018 health insurance rates for plans sold on the state’s exchange with the Green Mountain Care Board, the state’s health regulatory body that reviews and approves health insurance rates as well as hospital budgets. The insurer, which covers about 70,000 Vermonters, is seeking an average rate increase of 12.7 percent. BCBS President and CEO Don George said the requested increase is based on the cost of health care services as well as policy decisions unrelated to care that the company does not control. Those outside pressures account for about 6 percent of the 12.7 percent increase, he said. Continue Reading →

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Shumlin claims exchange victory

WINOOSKI — Gov. Peter Shumlin and his health care reform team said Monday they have met a key deadline in implementing a core function to Vermont Health Connect and plan to continue improving the online health insurance marketplace through the fall. “Having Vermont Health Connect work as it was designed to is the best possible outcome for Vermont. There’s no question that the biggest challenge that we’ve faced since we launched is change-of-circumstance,” Shumlin said at a news conference Monday. “We set a deadline of today … and I’m pleased to announce that this team behind me and some who aren’t here have delivered.”

Shumlin said the upgrade of the site to include change-of-circumstance, the ability for customers to have their personal information changed online, meets the first of two self-imposed deadlines he laid out in March as he faced mounting pressure about the exchange’s performance. The upgrade, which is still being phased in by the administration, will allow customer service representatives to make changes to consumers’ accounts in an automated way. Continue Reading →

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Rate increases sought by BCBS and MVP

MONTPELIER — The state’s two health insurance providers offering individual and business plans on Vermont Health Connect have submitted requested rate increases to the state for next year. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont and has requested an 8.4 percent increase in rates, while MVP Health Care is asking for a 3 percent average rate increase, according to the Green Mountain Health Care Board, the state’s regulatory body for health care issues. In its filing with the GMCB, BCBS said state and federal mandates are a significant reason for the rate increases for its federally qualified health plans, as well as rising medical and pharmaceutical costs. “In the absence of mandated changes associated with the Affordable Care Act, a 5.3 percent increase would have been requested,” BCBS wrote in its filing. Actual rate increases, depending on health plans, range between 4.7 percent and 14.3 percent for BCBS. Continue Reading →

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State, insurance carriers work to fix billing discrepancies

MONTPELIER — The Shumlin administration is working with the state’s health insurance carriers to reconcile millions of dollars in billing discrepancies resulting from Vermont Health Connect’s lack of key functions. The reconciliation process has been ongoing for about three weeks, according to Lawrence Miller, Gov. Peter Shumlin’s chief of health care reform. Because automated functions on the state’s online insurance exchange are not working, the state’s carriers — Blue Cross Blue Shield and MVP Health Care — have billed out millions in premiums that have not been paid. “It’s all because the automated change of circumstance functionality isn’t working,” Miller said. The state worked with carriers to create contingency plans and develop manual processes to ensure people received coverage when the exchange launched in October 2013 with the automated functions in place. Continue Reading →

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