Starting next year, Vermont state law requires individuals and businesses with up to 50 employees to get their health insurance through the state exchange, Vermont Health Connect. However, the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee sent a letter last week to Mark Larson, commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access, saying requiring enrollment in the exchange may violate the ACA, according to the news report.
The letter’s contents expressed concern that the requirements of the Vermont law would result in reduced consumer choice and higher costs for many businesses and individuals, as well as the fact that the ACA states that participation in an exchange is to be voluntary and not required. Vermont state officials responded that, with the ACA, the federal government promises not to bar health insurance outside the exchange but that states are free to take that step within their own borders.
According to the news report, Robin Lunge, director of health reform for Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, said the administration believes the ACA sets a floor and clearly allows states to operate above that floor, in regulating the health insurance marketplace.