NEK residents give health insurance mixed reviews

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©the Chronicle, 2015

by Elizabeth Trail

Despite both state and federal efforts to improve access to health care, relatively few small businesses in the area — the ones with fewer than 50 employees — offer medical insurance to their employees. And many people find themselves underinsured, if not uninsured.

The Vermont Health Connect website has been plagued with problems. And in spite of premium subsidies and tax advances, many people have high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs that, in practical terms, mean that they just don’t get health care.

Yet, Vermont ranks top in the nation for the percentage of insured children. And it’s second only to Massachusetts for having the highest percentage of insured people overall. And thanks to a generous expanded Medicaid program 143,000 low-income Vermonters pay little or nothing for their medical care.

In some cases, it’s not clear whether employees would actually be better off being insured through their employer, or going it on their own through the exchange…

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