Statement of VPIRG Consumer Protection Advocate Falko Schilling on Keeping Consistent Coverage for Vermonters on VHAP and Catamount
Catamount and VHAP have made health care more accessible for thousands of Vermonters. We need to make sure we keep consistent coverage to everyone as we transition to the Health Benefits Exchange in 2014. Over the past couple weeks, VPIRG has gathered over 700 signatures from individuals all over the state (see map to the right) calling on the Legislature to maintain consistent coverage for hard working Vermonters.
VPIRG members have shared their stories of how changes to these programs will impact them. We continue to hear concerns from Vermonters – carpenters, artists, small business owners and our most dedicated volunteers – that rising costs might force them to simply go without insurance entirely.
The prospects of these increased costs are especially frightening for Vermonters who have chronic medical conditions, and for all Vermonters who might face unforeseen medical expenses. Keeping premium costs reasonable isn’t enough to ensure hard-working Vermonters currently on Catamount and VHAP actually get the care they need. Without legislative action, many of them will fall through the cracks.
The House Committee on Health Care should continue to support reforms that make health care accessible for more and more Vermonters. That starts with maintaining consistent coverage and preventing a steep rise in their out of pocket costs, which would create an additional barrier between those eligible for Catamount and VHAP and the care they need.