You should have received a notice from the State of Vermont around May 9, 2013 saying that your review date for VPharm, VHAP-Pharmacy, VScript, VScript Expanded or Healthy Vermonters has been extended to June 30, 2014.
If you are enrolled only in a pharmacy program, a review form should not have been included with the review notice.
Please follow these directions if you or another member of your household is enrolled in ANY OTHER STATE PROGRAM [Dr. Dynasaur, VHAP, 3Squares, fuel assistance, Medicare Savings Program (MSP), etc]:
- If a copy of the review form was included in the mailing, you must fill it out and send it in for review for the program that is due for review.
- If a copy of the review form was not included in the mailing, you are not up for a review for those programs at this time. A review form will be sent to you when it is time to review your income for those programs.
If you are unsure about what you need to do, call Member Services at 1-800-250-8427.
May 13, 2013
A free adult dental care day will be offered to Vermonters in the locations listed below:
Chittenden County Required Pre-screening – Friday, May 3 Shelburne
Free Dental Day – Saturday, May 4 – South Burlington
Randolph Area Residents Free Dental Day – Friday, May 3 – Randolph
Windham Free Dental Day – Saturday, May 4 – Brattleboro
Windsor Free Dental Day – Saturday, May 4 – White River Junction
For more complete information about these free dental clinic days, call 2-1-1 or view and print the 2013 Free Adult Dental Care Days schedule.
View or print the Chittenden County Free Dental Clinic Day flyer to find out how to register for the required pre-screening and the free dental day.
Vermont Health Connect will be the health care insurance resource for a quarter million Vermonters in 2014. Enrollment begins in October 2013.
Every third Thursday at noon, you can learn more about the new way for individuals, families and small businesses in Vermont to enroll in public and private health plans. Register now for the webinar on Thursday, May 16, 2013, from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm.
Vermont Health Connect officials are also holding information forums in communities across the state. Click here for more information and a list of upcoming Vermont Health Connect forums.
Vermont Legal Aid and Legal Services Law Line of Vermont are proud to announce that registration for the 2013 Guen Gifford Advocate Training is now open. Go to vtlawhelp.org/registration for course descriptions and to download and print the registration form.
Register early! Space is limited and fills up fast. If you would like to reserve your space, print off the registration form, fill it out and send it with your payment to Law Line. The address is on the form.
We can't wait to see advocates from all over Vermont at Vermont Law School on May 31, 2013. Thank you for signing up!
If a company emails you, your family members or your neighbors to try to sell you insurance because it is required in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act, you should ignore and delete those emails without clicking on any of the links.
Most people will be required to have health insurance in 2014 but, if you are not on Medicare or do not have insurance through your employer, you will apply for insurance (including Medicaid) through a government exchange. Vermont’s exchange is called Vermont Health Connect.
It is not a good idea to provide your personal information or purchase goods or services through emails or telephone calls unless you first verify that the company is selling a real service or product.
Posted April 8, 2013
After years of anticipation, Vermont became the first state Monday to publish proposed 2014 individual health insurance rates under the federal health law. Despite Republican and insurers’ predictions, there was no “rate shock” in the new premiums, according to the Vermont governor’s office and insurance representatives.
State officials began visiting communities throughout the state in March to discuss the new health care options that will be available when the Vermont Health Connect open enrollment period begins in October 2013.
At the forums, officials discuss the essential health benefits all health plans participating in Vermont Health Connect must provide, the assistance that will be available to Vermonters, and what the Vermont Health Connect marketplace will look like.
Upcoming forums, which are free and open to public, are scheduled in the following locations:
Springfield April 24 6:30 - 8:00 pm First Congregational Church
Manchester April 30 6:30 - 8:00 pm Mark Skinner Library
Grand Isle May 7 6:30 - 8:00 pm Grand Isle Elementary
Rutland May 14 6:30 - 8:00 pm Rutland Free Library
Montpelier May 21 12:00 - 2:00 pm Kellogg Hubbard Library
Enosburg Falls June 4 6:30 - 8:00 pm The Abbey
Waterbury June 12 6:30 - 8:00 pm Thatcher Brook Primary School
Putney June 13 6:30 - 8:00 pm Town Firehouse
Randolph June 18 6:00 - 7:30 pm Kimball Public Library
Moretown July 9 6:30 - 8:00 pm Town Hall
Lyndonville July 23 6:30 - 8:00 pm Lyndon Town School
Additional forums will soon be announced for May, June and July, and will include forums in the Connecticut River Valley. For details on upcoming events, visit VermontHealthConnect.gov.
The Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) will hold a meeting at the Bennington Fire Facility at 130 River Street on Monday, April 8 from 1 p.m. until approximately 4 p.m.
The GMCB is an independent state agency charged with a wide variety of duties aimed at controlling the rate of growth in health care expenditures in Vermont and improving Vermonters’ health.
This event is an extension of the GMCB’s regular meetings, held Thursdays in Montpelier. In addition to conducting normal business, the GMCB will hear from Bennington-area health and dental providers. As with all GMCB meetings, the agenda will include time for community members to comment on the topics covered in the meeting. The meeting’s detailed agenda will be available on the GMCB website by April 1, 2013.
These Bennington-area leaders are scheduled to make brief presentations to the GMCB:
- Thomas Dee, Southwestern Vermont Health Care chief executive officer
- Michael Brady, DDS, Molly Stark Dental Clinic dentist
- Gregory King, M.D., a Vermont Blueprint for Health Advanced Primary Care Practice participant from Mount Anthony Primary Care
The GMCB encourages Bennington-area residents to attend the meeting on April 8 and provide input on the board’s work, which includes:
- Hospital budgets
- Health insurer rate reviews
- Provider payment changes that will encourage greater efficiency and quality in Vermont’s health care system
- Investments in improving the health of Vermonters.
“When Vermont’s Legislature created our board, they directed us to go about our business transparently and with public input,” said Anya Rader Wallack, Ph.D., Chair of the GMCB. “While our board members travel all over the state and we have good attendance at our Montpelier meetings, we also want to find ways to reach out to a broader audience. We hope people in the Bennington area will attend our meeting and contribute to our work.”
For more information on the meeting, contact Sam Lacy at 802.828.2130.
Vermont Health Connect staff Sean Sheehan and Emily Yahr are hosting a Third Thursday Lunchtime Webinar Series for those interested in learning about the Vermont Insurance Marketplace (also called "Exchange"). The Vermont Insurance Marketplace is the new way for individuals, families and small businesses in Vermont to enroll in public and private health plans, starting in October 2013.
Click here to pre-register for the webinar to be held on Thursday, Thursday, April 18, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM. You will need access to the internet to participate in the webinar.
The Federal Trade Commission is alerting the public to beware of callers who say that they are sending out national medical cards for the new Affordable Care Act.
THERE ARE NO NATIONAL MEDICAL CARDS, so you should not give any personal or bank information to a caller who says they will send you one.
Here is a link to the FTC's warning and information about how to protect yourself.
Please report any calls you receive from someone attempting to send you a national medical card or any similar type of scam to the FTC.
Make a free call to 1-877-382-4357 or report the complaint online.
Any information you can give to the FTC about the caller - name, telephone number, or location - can be very helpful.
March 14, 2013
"Refunds totaling just over $917 million may be waiting for an estimated 984,400 taxpayers who did not file a federal income tax return for 2009, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. However, to collect the money, a return for 2009 must be filed with the IRS no later than Monday, April 15, 2013..."
Read more, including inforamtion about filing your 2009 tax return online at IRS.gov.
Special Notice for Vermont Property Owners
All Vermont residents who own and occupy their home on April 1 must once again file the Homestead Declaration annually by the due date for filing Vermont income tax returns, which is April 15this year. When homeowners file their declaration, the town is then able to apply the correct education property tax rate to the property. If the property owner does not file a Homestead Declaration by the deadline or by the extended deadline of October 15 (penalties apply after April 15), then the property will be taxed at the higher property tax rate.
This is particularly important to those seeking a property tax adjustment because the declaration must be filed first. The process for filing a Property Tax Adjustment Claim has been made easier this year as the claim is now on the same form HS-122 as the Homestead Declaration. Refer to information on the property tax bill when filing.
The Vermont Department of Taxes encourages electronic filing, but using paper form HS-122 is acceptable. Both electronic filing and form HS-122 may be found online at the Department of Taxes website at www.tax.vermont.gov. For more information on the Homestead Declaration and the Property Tax Adjustment Claim, visit www.tax.vermont.gov or contact the Vermont Department of Taxes at (802) 828-2865 or (866) 828-2865 (toll-free in Vermont).
This is the link to File your Homestead Declaration online.
If you want, you can file using the paper form HS-122.
Instructions for filing the Homestead Declaration are available online, too.
Press Release: February 15, 2013
"Attorney General William H. Sorrell announced that he and 45 other state Attorneys General and the District of Columbia have reached a 120 million dollar multi-state settlement with Lender Processing Services, Inc. and its subsidiaries (“LPS”), the nation’s largest provider of technological support to banks and mortgage loan servicers. Vermont will receive $371,000 in its share of the settlement..."
The 2013 Guen Gifford Advocate Training will be held at Vermont Law School on May 31, 2013. Please save the date!
Registration will begin on April 14. Forms to print out and mail in with your registration fee will not be available until April 14, 2013. Check back here after April 14 for more information!
"Low-income advocates have dug up a report from the Department for Children and Families (DCF) that they claim deflates the department’s case for capping benefits in the Reach Up program.
"Gov. Peter Shumlin’s budget proposal calls for limiting Reach Up assistance — the state’s welfare program for families — to 36 months. When this time is up, families could still receive up to two years of additional assistance, but they would become ineligible every other year, and after a total of 60 months, they would become permanently ineligible.
"The report, submitted to the Legislature in January 2012, makes a strong pitch for continuing assistance to this cohort..."
Read the rest of the article on vtdigger.org.
"As he stood at a child-care center in Burlington with three mothers under a halo of dangling mobiles, Gov. Peter Shumlin took a hard-nosed stance against legislative tinkering with his child-care proposal.
"It can seem like a great perk: Driving your new or new-to-you car home while a dealer works out the financing.
"But it can turn out to be a bad idea.
"That's because the terms of the loan deal discussed at the dealership can change to a much higher rate after a buyer takes a car home. Unscrupulous dealers may try to bring buyers back one or more times to sign new, costlier deals — a practice known as 'yo-yo financing.'
"Prodded by state attorneys general and consumer groups, the Federal Trade Commission is considering whether to propose new regulations to address the practice."
Read the rest of the article in USA Today.
"WATERBURY — Temporary offices and abandoned buildings mark the damage done by Tropical Storm Irene nearly a year and a half after it devastated Vermont, but repaired and newly built homes, a new bridge and other signs of recovery dot the state..."
Read the rest of the article in the Burlington Free Press.
"Advocates hope Vermont Medicare patients won’t have to wait a year to reap the benefits of a class-action lawsuit that was settled last week.
"Vermont Legal Aid and the Center for Medicare Advocacy settled a class-action lawsuit against the federal government over Medicare coverage of maintenance therapy. When U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss approved the settlement Thursday to cover such treatment, the government said it would set out to revise its relevant policies and prepare a three-month educational campaign for the Medicare system.
"'Full implementation will take a year from today,' Michael Benvenuto, director of Vermont Legal Aid’s Medicare Advocacy Project, said Friday. 'Because they have agreed this is what Medicare should always have been, we’re going to be pushing that changes should be taking place faster.' ..."
Read the rest of the article in the Times Argus.
"[I]n addition to the mundane work of legal bookkeeping, lawmakers will consider scores of bills this year that could have a real impact on the lives of the Vermonters they represent..."
For more information on the bills the Legislature will take up this session, read the article in the Rutland Herald.
• you are a Green Mountain Power customer and
• you have a total gross household income at or below 150% of the federal poverty level.
If you apply by March 15, 2013, you may also be able to get a one-time forgiveness of your past-due balance.
How to Apply
- Print and fill out the Green Mountain Power Energy Assistance Program application form.
OR call Vermont Economic Services Division (1-800-775-0516) and leave a message with the address where you want the form to be sent.
- Attach a copy of your most recent electric bill.
The bill will not be returned to you, so you may want to send a copy.
- Return your completed application to:
DCF – Economic Services Division
Application & Document Processing Center
103 South Main Street
Waterbury VT 05671-1500
How Much Help Can I Get?
If the Vermont Economic Services Division says that you are eligible for help, you will get a 25% discount off of the monthly charge for the first 600 kilowatt hours of energy you used. It could save you up to $300 in one year.
If you have questions or need help applying:
- Call Vermont’s Economic Services Division at 1-800-775-0516 OR
- Call Vermont's Senior Helpline at 1-800-642-5119 if you are aged 60 and older
If you have questions about your Green Mountain Power bill:
- Call Green Mountain Power at 1-888-835-4672 or contact them online at www.greenmountainpower.com/
Once you're enrolled in the program, you must call Economic Services (1-800-775-0516) to report any changes to your household income or household members — within 10 business days. If you do not report changes, you will no longer be eligible for the program, and it may result in legal action against you for discounts you should not have received.
by Andrew Stein, VTDigger energy and health care reporter
When the Green Mountain Care Board approved the core insurance plans for the state’s health benefit exchange, board members raised concern that the new insurance marketplace would leave some of Vermont’s most vulnerable residents in a precarious disposition.
Several key lawmakers say they must deal with the impact of the fiscal fallout of the exchange on thousands of low-income Vermonters who now receive subsidized health care and will face higher out of pocket costs in the new system.
"Eighty-one property owners in the state who were especially hard hit by Irene remain in a sort of financial limbo. They were the first accepted into FEMA's hazard mitigation buyout program - but they are all still waiting for the money. Property owners were expecting the FEMA buyouts to take place last March but now may have to wait until next March. It's a delay that's pushed many to the breaking point, including Brandon residents Linda Bunn and Mary McManus.
"The couple retired from their jobs in Rhode Island 8 years ago and bought what Bunn described as their dream house. "It was adorable. It was just the house we wanted," the 70-year-old said.
"It was a small brown bungalow next to the Neshobe River in Brandon and Bunn says it was perfect for them. 'We used to sit out here it was so nice - you could hear the river at night - so pretty so nice to hear.'
"But when tropical storm Irene hit, the picturesque river they loved, roared over its banks and destroyed their home.
"'Ohhh! Everything was gone,' says Bunn, every piece of furniture was gone! Everything! We had nothing left," she says quietly.
"The women had excellent flood insurance, but rebuilding in the same flood prone area would be too costly.
"A kind neighbor provided an empty house for the women to live in, but the pair struggled to make ends meet. In addition to their monthly mortgage, they had to buy a car, and replace other lost items. The stress took a toll on Mary's health and more than once Linda admits they had to stop buying food. 'I just felt like we fell into a hole and there's nothing else for us,' says Bunn.
"About a year ago, town official in Brandon realized the women needed help and called Vermont Legal Aid. That's when attorney Jessica Radbord got involved. 'We got to work right away on getting FEMA benefits. And once we did that it happened really fast,' she says.
"Radbord says because the house was so heavily damaged and so close to the river it was fast tracked for FEMA's hazard mitigation buyout program. That was good news, because the FEMA money would allow Linda and Mary to pay off their mortgage and move on. But while state officials expected the federal funds last spring, everyone is still waiting.
"Jessica Radbord says her clients began to fall behind on their mortgage. 'I tried to work with Bank of America,' the lawyer says. 'My first thought was there are tens of thousands of dollars sitting in an escrow account - that flood insurance money. And we know that it's never going to get spent on repairs, so why don't we use a small fraction of those funds to pay the mortgage going forward?'
"Radbord says an associate at Bank of America was able to secure two months worth of payments for the women using their insurance money. The couple requested in writing that the bank continue the arrangements ‘til the buyout.
"But Radbord says it didn't happen and she was never able to be speak with that first bank associate again.
"Even though she had his name and direct extension number, she says no one would connect her. 'Each time I called I would speak to a different person. And they would listen to the story and they would say, ‘This is terrible. I'll personally see what I can do about it.''
"But she says they never called back. 'When I called to check on things,' she says, 'probably the third or fourth time. The person said this request has been denied three times.'
"That's when Radbord called Sue Minter, Vermont's Irene Recovery Chief for help. 'We wrote letters to the bank,' says Minter, 'pointing out that if in fact that bank foreclosed they would be getting far less for the property than if they wait for the buyout. Because,' she says, 'it would be based in the buyout on pre-Irene assessed value. Whereas if they foreclosed right now it would be much lower value property.'
"'What really blows your mind about this,' says Jessica Radbord, 'is the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund is able to contribute one months' payment to Linda and Mary's account.'
"But in order for fund officials to release the money, Radbord says Bank of America needed to fill out a W-9 tax form. 'And everyone I talked to there said I'm not the person to sign this and I said well why don't you find out who can? I did send this form to the office of the CEO and president,' she says, 'to our case manager there, and heard absolutely nothing, even after leaving follow up messages.'
"Radbord says it wasn't until Senator Leahy's office got involved that the form finally got signed. Because of the severity of the situation, Vermont's Disaster Relief fund paid two months worth of mortgage payments plus late fees for the couple. That was November 21st.
"Five days later Linda Bunn says she received the latest of many warning letters from the bank. 'It's funny,'says Bunn, 'because the first sentence of this Bank of America note to us says we have not received your last two regular scheduled payments and are concerned you may be having difficulty making your mortgage payment.' Bunn rolls her eyes. 'Does that top it off right there?' she asks. 'They know this! They've been told many, many times.'
"Bank of America's handling of residential mortgages and foreclosures has come under intense scrutiny in recent years. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the federal agency that regulates national banks, including Bank of America issued a report last year criticizing a number of the banks practices pertaining to residential mortgages and foreclosures.
"The penalties have been costly. This year Bank of America agreed to pay more than $10 billion to victimized borrowers and others as part of a class action lawsuit.
"Linda Bunn and Mary McManus will get none of that, however. Linda says what's ironic is that not too long ago, Bank of America was in trouble. 'We bailed them out as a taxpayer,' she says, 'and now they're not helping us.'
"Well, now maybe they finally are. After calling Bank of America last week to get their side of this story, spokeswoman Kelly Sapp told VPR she would look into the matter. No one at the bank would agree to an interview, but Sapp issued this response in an email a day later. 'We have been actively working with Mary McManus and Linda Bunn to help them through this process. We will further assist them by offering to forbear their mortgage payments until March when the property buyout is expected.'
"Attorney Jessica Radbord smiles at that. She says she'd asked the bank for that very thing back in July.
"For consumer complaints regarding national banks, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency provides thislink."
To listen to the full story on Vermont Public Radio go to vpr.net.
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