State to launch household health care survey next month

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By Morgan True
VTDigger.org

A Vermont household insurance survey, which will begin next week, is expected to give the state a window into how close it is to achieving universal health care coverage.

The survey will be completed in November. Preliminary results are expected in “early 2015,” according to a news release from the Department of Financial Regulation.

Portland, Maine-based survey company Market Decisions Maine will make random phone calls to Vermonters to ask questions about their health insurance needs, frequency of doctor visits and what may or may not influence their decision in seeking health care.

Susan Donegan, commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation, said the department sent out the release so the public will know what to expect if they receive a survey call.

Callers will ask for first names only, which will be kept confidential, and they will not ask for Social Security numbers, bank or credit card information, according to the release.

“We urge people to take part in the survey,” she in a statement, “The data we collect will give us a good picture of the state’s insured population and their health needs.”

The survey was last conducted in 2012 and found that 6.8 percent of the state’s population, or 42,760 people, did not have health insurance.