Vermont Uses AHRQ Data to Examine Options for Health Insurance Coverage
To assess options for covering the uninsured in Vermont, state agencies and consultants have used Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) data for a number of reports. These reports were available to state officials and legislators working on health reform measures in the state. Their efforts culminated in May 2006, when Governor Jim Douglas signed the Health Care Affordability Act into law. The centerpiece of this legislation is a new program called Catamount Health, which establishes coverage at group rates for uninsured individuals and offers income-related subsidies to help them purchase that coverage.
The reports citing MEPS that were used in the discussion of this legislation include:
- Kenneth Thorpe: Overview of Catamount Health. (February 23, 2006) Prepared for the legislature, this analysis includes MEPS data on the prevalence of chronic illness among the uninsured.
- The Lewin Group: A Buy-in to the Vermont Health Access Program (VHAP) for Individuals and Small Employers: Cost and Coverage Impacts. Final Report Prepared for the Office of Vermont Health Access.(February 9, 2004) Lewin used MEPS data on insurance coverage, health spending, and demographics to calculate cost impacts for a proposed buy-in to VHAP by low-wage workers and small employers employing such workers. (VHAP offers coverage for uninsured adults who are not eligible for Medicaid.)
- Vermont Agency of Human Services (with assistance from the Lewin Group and Action Research): Expansion of Health Insurance Coverage to Uninsured Vermonters, Final Report. (March 15, 2002) MEPS data were used to derive the following: average employer-based health insurance premium costs per worker for Vermont and other states, self-reported health status of insured and uninsured Americans, health services utilization of Americans by insured status, and estimates of the impact of various health reform initiatives in Vermont. This report was funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as part of its State Planning Grant program.
- Vermont Division of Health Care Administration: Employer-Based Health Insurance in Vermont: Summing It Up. Presented to Senate Committee on Health and Welfare. (January 22, 2002) This report includes MEPS data on firm size and provision of health insurance, both in Vermont and the U.S.
Note: The Vermont Agency of Human Services is an omnibus agency that includes the Office of Health Access. A second omnibus agency, the Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities, and Health Care Administration, includes the Division of Health Care Administration.