Few sign up for new ‘association’ health insurance

Mike Faher / VTDigger

A newly expanded – and frequently controversial – type of health insurance has gotten off to a slow start in Vermont.

Only about 5,000 people are enrolled in the latest version of “association” health coverage, which is marketed as a way for small businesses to save money in an increasingly expensive insurance market.

But the relatively low number of customers hasn’t stopped a tug-of-war over the future of association health coverage in Vermont. Some are pushing lawmakers for further regulation of association plans, while those who have begun offering such plans don’t want the rug pulled out from under them so soon.

“We invested a significant amount of time, a significant amount of staff and a significant amount of money standing up this (program), making sure that we were in compliance with both federal and state law,” said Betsy Bishop, president of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

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