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Vermont to dish out $1.6 million to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont

Funds cover expenses from troubled state exchange

Vermont plans to pay $1.6 million to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) to cover past-due premiums and incorrectly paid claims that resulted from the state's disastrously run health insurance exchange.

Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin's administration announced Friday that the state and the insurer signed an agreement last week, reports the Washington Times.

The technical issues began back in 2013, after the launch of Vermont Health Connect. The exchange lacked a key function, which led to workers manually processing customers' changes to their personal information, which in turn caused a backlog. Yet many insurers weren't notified they should stop billing customers.

The issue surfaced this spring after BCBSVT, as well as another insurer in the state, MVP Healthcare, were forced to wait for Vermont to manually process paperwork to see if they'll be owed money for unpaid premiums. BCBSVT has a policy of keeping plans on its books rather than running the risk of cancelling them by mistake. At the time, some speculated that the state could owe BCBSVT as much as $4 million, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Amid the growing pains, the state recently tweaked its software to allow for staff to process changes quicker.

In response to the issue, "there was an extensive reconciliation process and it got to a certain point where we needed to reach an agreement on the numbers, and we did," BCBSVT spokesman Cory Gustafson tells the news outlet. "We basically wanted to wrap up 2014 and focus on this year and get a more regular reconciliation process in place."

For more:
- here's the Washington Times article

Related Articles:
State exchange winners and losers from open enrollment round two
State exchanges bogged down by technical difficulties, too
Vermont BCBS, MVP Health owed millions thanks to technical glitch on state exchange