Getting health insurance through Vermont Health Connect
What is Vermont Health Connect (VHC)?
Vermont Health Connect or VHC is the state marketplace where you can buy health insurance. Most people get financial help to lower your costs. It was created in 2010 by the Affordable Care Act.
When you apply for health insurance through VHC, they will check to see if you qualify for different programs based on your income and household size. These programs include Medicaid, Dr. Dynasaur and private health plans through VHC. VHC calls these private plans “Qualified Health Plans.”
If you qualify for a private health plan through VHC, you might be able to get financial help to lower the premium (monthly cost). Learn more about financial help – the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions.
Enrolling in a health plan
The open enrollment period for VHC is from November 1 to January 15. During this time, you can buy a health plan for 2024 or switch to a different plan.
After the open enrollment period ends, you can’t buy a health plan through VHC unless you have a qualifying event.
There are two new qualifying events that let you enroll in a plan at any time:
- if you are below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level and qualify for financial help
- if you have lost your Medicaid coverage since March 2023.
Visit our How to Apply page.
What’s new this year?
More financial help: The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 extended increased subsidies (financial help) for higher income households until at least 2025. If you didn’t qualify for financial help in the past, you should look again. Use the 2024 Plan Comparison Tool to see how much help you could get. For example: You may qualify for lower costs if you are a household of one person with annual income up to $134,040. Or you could qualify if you have a household of four people with annual income up to $376,665. You can only get this financial help if you sign up through VHC.
Update on employer insurance and the “family glitch”: VHC now uses new rules when deciding if an employer’s offer of health insurance is considered “affordable” for family members (spouses and dependents). Family members could qualify for financial help if VHC finds that the offer is not “affordable” under the new rules. This could lower the cost of a health plan for them through VHC in 2024. Do you have an offer of employer insurance that extends to your family members? Check to see if it is adequate and affordable. You can use VHC’s affordability estimator tool.
Immigrant Health Insurance Plan (IHIP): If you didn’t qualify for health insurance in the past due to immigration status, you might qualify for the new Immigrant Health Insurance Plan. IHIP is for people who are pregnant or under age 19. Read more about IHIP and other health insurance options for immigrants.
Need help with Vermont Health Connect?
Do you have a question or issue that you have not been able to get answered or solved through VHC?
Call the Office of the Health Care Advocate anytime and leave a message: 1-800-917-7787. An advocate will return your call as soon as possible. You can also ask for help by filling out our Help Request Form.
Find out more
Read more on our website to find:
- how to apply for health insurance through Vermont Health Connect
- how much income you can have and qualify for Medicaid
- information about the different types of plans, premiums and copays
- what kind of help you may be able to get to lower the monthly premiums or cost-sharing
- links to information and help for small businesses.
Read about the topics listed in the menu of pages or visit the Vermont Health Connect Help Center to learn more about health care changes in Vermont.
Answers to questions
Georgetown University Health Policy Institute Guide to the Private Health Insurance Marketplace
This guide was developed to help navigators answer your questions about health care reform and how the marketplace works. To use the guide, just pick the section that is right for you. Then look for the chapter about the issue you have questions about. The sections are: