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Commonwealth Fund State Performance Ranking (2007): 3
Vermont unveiled the first major component of its reform program last October. The Catamount Health Plan provides a means for uninsured Vermont residents to obtain healthcare coverage. Catamount is open to all uninsured residents, and is subsidized for individuals with incomes up to 300% of the federal poverty level (FPL).
Funding for the reform plan, which is expected to cost $60.6 million by 2010, has already been refigured once. Originally, nearly half of the funding was expected to come from the state's Medicaid "Global Commitment to Health" waiver. However, CMS decided federal matching funds could be used only to finance premiums for individuals with incomes up to 200% FPL. As a result, the state was forced to tap its General Fund to cover Catamount Health enrollees with incomes between 200% and 300% of the FPL.
Vermont's uninsured population is significantly lower than the national average, just more than 11% versus 18% for the United States as a whole. That's partly because the state's Medicaid program provides coverage for 19% of the state population, a much higher percentage than the national average of 13%. Even so, the fledgling reform plan has set a goal to have 96% of residents insured by 2010.
MHE Sources: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Urban Institute; Kaiser Family Foundation; U.S. Census Bureau; The Commonwealth Fund.