2019 Open Enrollment for Health Plans- Good times!

Health insurance is a frought subject rife with political implications. For the past few years the main way for small business owners and individuals to get health insurance has been through Vermont Health Connect (aka the Exchange). Vermont Health Connect has had a rocky ride, and has not exactly been the most user friendly of platforms (the people who work there though are super nice and I have found the Commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access to responsive).

For 2019 there is a new option- Association Health Plans. According to BCBS, Association Health Plans (AHP) work by allowing small businesses, including self-employed workers, to band together by geography or industry as if they are one single entity thereby creating a larger risk pool, lower costs and greater security. One of the organizations offering these plans to their members is Vermont Businesses For Social Responsibility.

Although it is possible to save some money on your monthly premium, it is very important to understand what the benefits are of the new plans. There’s a handy comparison chart here if you go through VBSR (not a sponsored post). I think I’d be saving about $130 a month- not bad, but I am sticking with Vermont Health Connect.

This is why I am sticking with the Exchange/Vermont Health Connect. My business has varied receipts from year to year and my taxable income varies accordingly. Although I pay the maximum monthly premium, at the end of the year I am often eligible for a (substantial) tax credit based on my taxable income (there’s perhaps some nuance here but this is the 10,000 foot blog post view, okay?)- in 2017 the credit was over $10,000. You do not have access to this credit if you get your insurance elsewhere. Open enrollment Begins November 1 and ends December 15th.