Vermont Passes Consumer Centered Health Care Reform Bill

The VPIRG-backed legislation that passed in the final hours of the 2013 legislative session will make it easier for consumers to hold insurers accountable when they try to raise your rates.

Under the new law, consumers can sign up to receive notifications when their insurer is planning to hike rates, and can have their voices heard before the increase goes in to effect. The bill also includes other changes to the states rate review program that will make it easier for the Green Mountain Care Board to ensure any rate hike is justified before allowing it to go into effect.  Vermont’s rate review program will now closely mirror a program put in place in Oregon which has saved consumers over $80 million dollars since 2010.

The bill also contained important language that will increase VPIRG’s ability to pull back the curtain on insurance claim denials. Last year, VPIRG helped pass a bill that required insurers report all their denied claims in plain language. After seeing discrepancies in the insurers reporting, we worked with legislators to make sure that did not happen again. The bill also makes it so that next year we will get this same denied claims information from Medicaid as well as private insurers. This information will be essential to our efforts to help consumers make side-by-side comparisons before they buy insurance.