Important Healthcare Decisionmaking Information Available for Vermont Agricultural Producers
- By Pamela Smith
Vermont agricultural employers need to make important decisions in the coming weeks regarding health insurance. In the past, many agricultural producers have relied on co-ops, farm bureaus and other group associations to provide health insurance, while others were enrolled in state programs like VHAP or Catamount. Many of these plans will end on March 31, 2014.
If your plan is ending, you need to enroll in a health plan through Vermont Health Connect by March 15 for coverage that will take effect April 1, 2014. If you enroll between March 15 and March 31, 2014, coverage will begin on May 1, 2104 - and may result in a gap in coverage
If you plan to offer employer-sponsored insurance, depending on the size and type of farm, producers will be required to direct enroll their employees with either Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont or MVP Healthcare. If you plan to offer insurance to your employees, please check with insurance carriers about their suggested deadlines to avoid gaps in coverage.
Employers that do not offer health insurance coverage may pay the Catamount Assessment, depending on how many employees are uncovered. For more information on the Catamount Assessment, please visit the Vermont Department of Labor website at http://labor.vermont.gov/forms/hc-3-info-for-completing-hc-1/.
Those who are not offering employer-sponsored coverage will need to enroll in individual/family coverage through Vermont Health Connect by March 15, 2014 for coverage to take effect April 1. Most individuals will qualify for financial assistance that reduces premium amounts, and in most cases, out-of-pocket costs. Remember, you must pay your premium before your plan starts.