I didn't write about the Kansas abortion ban amendment vote back in August, but I should have:

Voters in Kansas rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment Tuesday that would have said there was no right to an abortion in the state, according to The Associated Press.

Kansas was the first state to vote on abortion rights since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson's Women's Health Organization.

President Joe Biden hailed Tuesday's vote and called on Congress to pass a law to restore nationwide abortion rights that were provided by Roe.

"This vote makes clear what we know: the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion and should have the right to make their own health care decisions," Biden said in a statement.

The statewide abortion ban ballot proposal, in a fairly solidly red state, ended up failing by a massive 18 points, with 544,000 voting against it and only 378,00 in favor of it.

Hmmmm...Vermont's filings are usually pretty easy to average because a) they don't redact any of their filing data; b) they make the forms easy to access; and c) they only have two insurance carriers operating in the individual or small group markets anyway (in fact, it's the same two carriers in both markets).

This year, however, there's an odd discrepancy going on between what I had originally reported as the preliminary 2023 rate filings and what's showing up as the preliminary filings under the approved rate changes.

Back in May, the preliminary individual market rate filings were +12.3% for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont and +17.4% for MVP, for a weighted average increase of 14.7%, while the small group filings averaged out to +14.6%.

This was also reported by Liora Engel-Smith of VT Digger at the time:

And here...we...go...

Every year, I spend months painstakingly tracking every insurance carrier rate filing for the following year to determine just how much average insurance policy premiums on the individual market are projected to increase or decrease.

Carriers tendency to jump in and out of the market, repeatedly revise their requests, and the confusing blizzard of actual filing forms sometimes make it next to impossible to find the specific data I need. The actual data I need to compile my estimates are actually fairly simple, however. I really only need three pieces of information for each carrier:

This morning, George Conway (yes, that George Conway) asked a reasonable question on Twitter:

Has anyone estimated how many American lives would have been saved if the entire country had gotten vaccinated at the rates at which people in, say Vermont or Portugal, or at which registered Democrats, have gotten vaccinated?

This is a serious question.

— George Conway (@gtconway3d) February 3, 2022

Several people asked me to chime in.

Now, according to the CDC, Vermont had around 250 total COVID-19 deaths reported as of June 30th, 2021, and is now up to more than double that (516), which means they've had around 266 deaths out of 643,000 residents since 6/30/21, or 41.4 per 100K.


Vermont's 2022 rate filings are pretty straightforward: They only have two carriers in the state offering either individual or small group plans to begin with, and the insurance department clearly states not only the requested and approved rate changes, but the exact number of enrollees each carrier has.

There's one major change this year, however: After many years of having their individual & small group risk pools merged, Vermont has decided to unmerge the two (I believe Massachusetts is the only other state which has a combined indy/small group risk pool). The press releases for rate filings in each explains the rationale:



I've once again relaunched my project from last fall to track Medicaid enrollment (both standard and expansion alike) on a monthly basis for every state dating back to the ACA being signed into law.

For the various enrollment data, I'm using data from's Medicaid Enrollment Data Collected Through MBES reports. Unfortunately, they've only published enrollment data through December 2020. In most states I've been able to get more recent enrollment data from state websites and other sources, but Vermont isn't among them.

Vermont is one of only two states (the other is Massachusetts) where everyone enrolled in Medicaid via ACA expansion was already previously eligible before the law passed via state programs or federal waivers. However, those programs (and funding) have presumably long since been discontinued, so if the ACA is struck down, those enrollees would be in the same boat as those enabled specifically due to the ACA unless funding was immediately restored.


 Now that I've developed a standardized format/layout & methodology for tracking both state- and county-level COVID vaccination levels by partisan lean (which can also be easily applied to other variables like education level, median income, population density, ethnicity, etc), I've started moving beyond my home state of Michigan.

Here's Vermont:

NOTE: The CDC lists ~91,000 Vermont residents (3.5% of the total fully vaccinated) whose county of residence is unknown.

Vermont Health Connect

Huh. Vermont's ACA exchange website, Vermont Health Connect, has looked pretty much the same for at least the past 5-6 years, but a month or so ago they quietly overhauled the layout & design interface of the site. I have no idea if they actually updated the back-end, however.

In any event, the VT Health Connect's COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period was originally supposed to end last Friday (May 14th), but they appear to have done something else without much fanfare as well:

Vermont Health Connect

I just received confirmation from Vermont Health Connect that they're joining nearly every other state in offering an official COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period...with a few caveats:

Special Enrollment Period for Uninsured Vermonters Opens February 16, 2021

Waterbury, VT— In alignment with the Federal initiative, the State of Vermont is re-opening a special enrollment period on February 16, 2021 to offer Vermonters who do not currently have health insurance an opportunity to enroll in a qualified health plan and receive premium and cost-sharing assistance, if eligible. Intended to facilitate access to health insurance, the special enrollment period is being implemented in partnership with qualified health plan issuers, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, MVP Health Care, and Northeast Delta Dental. To enroll, Vermonters should call the Customer Support Center at 1-855-899- 9600 Monday through Friday, 8:00AM – 4:30PM.

Way back in May (a lifetime ago), Vermont was among the first states to publicly post their preliminary 2021 rate filings for their combined individual & small group market. At the time, the carriers were requesting an average 6.8% rate increase, and noted that they had no clue how much to tack on to cover themselves for the COVID-19 factor...or to even reduce rates because of it.

This week, the Vermont insurance regulatory board issued their final decisions about both BCBS of Vermont and MVP Health Plan, and cut down on each of their requested increases by several points (h/t Louise Norris for the links):