Blue Cross And Blue Shield Of Vermont Joined By Governor Shumlin To Announce New Information And Wellness Center
May 20, 2013
SOUTH BURLINGTON – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) was joined by Governor Peter Shumlin today to announce the opening of the BCBSVT Information and Wellness Center in the Blue Mall in South Burlington. The BCBSVT Information and Wellness Center is an important part of the company’s comprehensive outreach effort to support and assist Vermonters in their transition into Vermont’s new health benefits exchange – Vermont Health Connect, later this year.
Beginning in October of this year, roughly 100,000 Vermonters will be required to transition to the state’s health benefit exchange or face a federal tax penalty. BCBSVT research suggests that many of those affected do not have the information they need today to make the transition. Small businesses with 50 or fewer employees, sole proprietors, and individual purchasers including Catamount will be required to use the state’s exchange. Vermont is the only state to mandate the purchase of health insurance through the Exchange for these groups of Vermonters.
“We are grateful to have the Governor with us today as we celebrate the opening of our new Information and Wellness Center,” said Don George, CEO. “I have travelled throughout Vermont meeting with thousands of individuals and small business owners and they will need ongoing information and support with this important transition. As we get closer to enrollment in the fall, it will take all of us working together to ensure that Vermonters have the coverage they depend on. We at BCBSVT see it as “job one” to help Vermonters through this time of extraordinary change.”
Governor Shumlin spoke about the exchange and its importance in providing Vermonters with access to an online marketplace where 100,000 Vermonters will compare health plans and prices and enroll in health plans.
“Making health insurance affordable and accessible to every Vermonter, regardless of their ability to pay, is a cornerstone of my administration’s work,” said Governor Peter Shumlin. “I appreciate the work that is being done by Blue Cross and Blue Shield, as well as Vermonters across the state, to support the success of the exchange. It’s a critical part of our vision for a universal health system in which every Vermonter is covered.”
In addition to the new Information and Wellness Center, BCBSVT has held more than 40 community meetings with more than 2,500 small businesses to share information and answer questions from Vermonters about the Exchange.
BCBSVT has also trained a team of exchange specialists that are available on the phone and in person to answer questions and assist Vermonters every step of the way. An exchange phone line 1-800-255-4550 is now open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 6:00pm. Additional community meetings, webinars, and enrollment meetings are all part of the company’s commitment to ensure Vermonters find and keep the coverage that is right for them. The company’s information and wellness center at the Blue Mall is open Monday through Friday from 9:30am to 6:00pm and no appointment is necessary.
Vermonters who are seeking more information about the exchange are encouraged to reach out today.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is the state’s oldest and largest health insurer, providing coverage for about 180,000 Vermonters. It employs about 340 Vermonters at its headquarters in Berlin and branch office in South Burlington, and offers group and individual health plans. More information about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is available on the Internet at www.bcbsvt.com. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is an independent corporation operating under a license with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 37 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 105 million members – one-in-three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.