At nearly half a billion dollars, Vermont’s health insurance expansion program is one of the largest government works in its history. It’s staggering when you stop and consider first, the role Medicaid plays in the lives of seniors and second, the sheer amount that’s earmarked every year to better serve the needs of those seniors.
Now, though, those costs have just increased, but not for the reasons you might think. The logistics – including IT, management and policy creation – have just resulted in a $427 million increase for Vermont. This is all due to the new systems that must be put into place. And some are saying we may not even begin to see the benefits for another decade.
Vermont Medicaid System Overhaul
The new Vermont Health Access system will save money by replacing some of the older software and hardware. Vermont’s going to the clouds. This is a good thing, though, as it bypasses traditional problems with servers and mainframes, coding errors and other costs associated with support. This means seniors are going to have easier access and stronger responses for their needs.
But the consumer assistance programs, which of course, are part of the Vermont Medicaid changes — online, over the phone, and in person — will be key to having informed consumers who enroll year after year.
For matters involving estate planning, legacy planning and asset protection, our clients will enjoy the same respectful and ethical approach we’ve built our name on. Even during the transition, and even if it’s years from now, our clients will continue to receive the same seamless transitions as they’ve always enjoyed.
For now, though, we plan to follow the new system’s move and during a recent audit from BerryDunn, we learned that it’s a huge change, “The scale of the Health Services Enterprise Program is an unprecedented undertaking for Vermont,” the BerryDunn review reads. Already, Vermont was facing the possibility of a $78 million shortfall in Medicaid funding, so the dynamics are especially fragile.
Over the coming months, we won’t see much changing as the foundation is put into place. The new IT plans will be rolled out and while much of that is still being planned, one thing the auditors did say is that the new systems will ensure “strong project level leadership”. That said, it also has a few recommendations for the state’s Agency of Human Services as it prepares the move away from the legacy Medicaid eligibility system. It’s clear efforts are being made to avoid “last minute” changes or realizations, “As the state moves away from possessing a large amount of staff with ‘developer’ capabilities and towards the use of open, scalable, vendor-hosted products in the cloud, it has been identified that AHS has no formal plan to adapt to this new vision,” according to the report.
Changes in the Workforce Mean Improved Services
Seniors can expect changes in the workforce, as well. Among other things, a formal change management plan is being put into place that will allow the state to better identify the various projects. This can only benefit residents of Vermont.
Applicants will learn faster as to whether they qualify for a particular program. In fact, estimates are the new systems will provide that information within 8 seconds. This, of course, will further help us as we seek to help our clients.
In the meantime, we welcome your calls and if you’re looking for information on estate planning or qualifying for Medicaid now that you’re nearing retirement, give us a call. Our elder law professionals can provide you with all of the information so that you can make the best decisions unique to your needs.
The new systems are designed for today’s modern consumers, but that doesn’t mean we have to compromise until then.