Happy Sunday, weCAN Family! We'd like to take this opportunity to relay some important information about Vermont Health Connect's Open Enrollment as information about the Affordable Care Act may be (intentionally) hard to come by this year.
2018 Open Enrollment for Vermont Health Connect is open NOW through December 15th, 2017. During this time individuals and families can sign up for new healthcare coverage or make a change to existing coverage.
Who is Vermont Health Connect for?
• Vermonters without health insurance.
• Vermonters who purchase insurance for themselves.
• Vermonters who qualify for Medicaid or Dr. Dynasaur, whether or not they are also offered insurance from a job.
• Vermonters who are offered “unaffordable” coverage by their employers.
Through the Vermont Health Connect portal you can:
- See In-Person Assister (IPA) program updates or browse a directory of certified Assisters.
- Use the 2018 Plan Comparison Tool to estimate total annual costs and to see if you qualify for financial help to lower the cost of health insurance.
- Check to see if a new special enrollment period for pregnant individuals is available for your household.
- Learn about grace periods and why it is important to pay your bill on time.
- See where to find help filling out the 202-Med for Medicaid for the Aged, Blind, and Disabled.
- Obtain insurance for your small business. Click here for information and resources.
- Learn about Medicaid and Dr. Dynasaur.
Do you need a Healthcare Advocate or Legal Aid?
The Office of the Healthcare Advocate may be able to help. Call 1-800-917-7787(8:30am-4:30pm, Monday-Friday, except holidays) to speak with a health care advocate, or fill out our Help Request Form. The Office of the Health Care Advocate is not an insurance company and is not part of Vermont state government. It is a special project within Vermont Legal Aid, an independent non-profit law firm.
Vermont’s HCA HelpLine is a free resource available to help all Vermonters solve problems related to health care. We:
•help you solve problems with Vermont Health Connect and other health coverage
•tell you what free and lower-cost programs you may be eligible for
•help you apply for and get free and lower-cost health coverage
•find out what your health plan covers
•provide advice about how to solve billing problems and make complaints
•work for fair treatment and affordable health services for everyone
Here are some additional Vermont Health Connect basics you should be aware of, thanks to Stowe Today (a local newspaper out of Stowe, VT):
- The Department of Vermont Health Access is offering an open enrollment webinar with representatives from all three insurance carriers on Thursday, November 9th, 2017 for people who’d like further assistance navigating Vermont Health Connect. Sign up at here. Recordings of the webinars will be posted at vermonthealthconnect.gov.
- the open enrollment period is halved this year to only six weeks instead of three months so Vermonters will have less time to navigate their health care
- The enrollment period began this week and runs through Dec. 15th, 2017
- Most Vermonters will find 24 options for qualified health plans – including four new bronze plans – from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont and MVP, as well as dental plans from Northeast Delta Dental.
- Every plan offers the same basic services, including preventive care, emergency care, mental health services and prescriptions.
- For Blue Cross, the Green Mountain Care Board approved an average 9.2 percent increase in premiums for the upcoming year. For MVP, the board approved an average 3.5 percent increase.
- The penalty for not having insurance has gone up to 2.5 percent of a household’s income or $695 per uninsured adult and $385 per uninsured child. That’s up from $295 per adult and $147.50 per child. There are some exceptions to this requirement, including individuals who 1) have an income that is low enough that they do not file income taxes (this equals an annual income of about $10,000 for an individual), 2) have specific religious beliefs, or 3) are unable to find an affordable plan. You must apply to the federal government directly for an exemption. Learn more about the individual mandate on healthcare.gov.
- Vermonters who miss the Dec. 15 deadline could have to wait until January 2019 to start health coverage, although those who qualify for Medicaid can sign up throughout the year and those who qualify for a special enrollment period due to a change in employment, loss of health coverage, getting married, having a baby or adopting a child generally have 60 days to sign up.
- Existing members who want to stay in the same plan can simply continue to pay their bills on time and will automatically be renewed into the 2018 version of their current plan.
Thank you, WeCAN Family, for your support at last week's WeCAN Cafe event! We were so pleased to see see so many familiar (and unfamiliar!) faces last Thursday evening and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making this Activist Cafe a huge success.
Now that you've had an opportunity to recharge, here are a few ways* you can meaningfully support (or continue to support) Social Justice where you live:
-Educate yourself on a particular movement or cause: read up on mission statements, look to see what kind of programs their donations fund, etc.
-Work on your own habits and beliefs: eliminate words from your vocabulary, learn to be a better ally, be an activist regularly.
-Take action in your community: Use your knowledge of your community to determine where your time might best be spent. Speak with your friends and neighbors to get a sense of the injustices affecting those around you and seek out a group or organization that may directly help your community grow and flourish. Write or call your elected officials regularly to let them know you support or disagree with them. Use your voice whenever you can for as long as you can.
-Go to a protest, vigil, or demonstration:
Practice active resistance in your own community. Make signs, chant, march, and sing for justice with like-minded people. Be aware of your surroundings, follow a permitted route, stay on the sidewalk, and follow these safety tips.
-Volunteer your time:
This is a simple one: donate your time without expecting compensation in return.
* http://mashable.com/2016/03/26/social-justice-get-involved/#IA4vx7aDaGqY, accessed 10.21.17.
Now, on to this week's events...
HAPPENING THIS WEEK MONDAY, OCTOBER 23rd, 2017-SUNDAY, OCTOBER 29th, 2017
Divest the Globe Vigil & Speak Out
sponsored by Post Oil Solutions & 99th Monkey Affinity Group
Monday, October 23rd, 2017 at TD Bank Brattleboro (215 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301).
Holding Vigil: 9am-4pm
Speaking Out: 4pm-5pm. BRING SIGNS!
We will be holding vigil all day, calling upon TD to divest itself of its investments in tar sands and fossil fuel infrastructure and to the rest of us who do business with the bank to end our relationship. Please join us at any time during the day, and especially during the Speak Out portion to express your feelings on how important it is to get banks and other financial institutions out of the business of investing in fossil fuels.
Indigenous leaders from Mazaska Talks are calling on climate justice activists throughout the world to take action for Divest the Globe. They are asking allies and activists everywhere to target the banks that are funding projects that “desecrate Mother Earth” - pipelines, tar sands extraction, fracking. In Vermont, TD Bank is our target, and actions will be happening in multiple locations: Burlington, Bennington, Manchester, Brattleboro, and more. TD Bank has long been a funder of tar sands extraction in Alberta, and they currently extend multi-billion dollar lines of credit to TransCanada - the company that wants to bring the Keystone XL pipeline back from the dead. A recent report shows that TD also financed over 3 billion dollars to companies engaging in extreme fossil fuel activities, from 2014-2016. TD Bank has many branches in Vermont, and up until this summer, held banking contracts with the state of Vermont. Recently, TD Bank lost its contract with Vermont, in part due to our demands! Now it’s time to boot TD out of Vermont completely.
Progressive Party Windham County Caucus Organizing Meeting
Monday, October 23rd, 2017 at The Root Center for Social Justice (The Whetstone Studio for the Arts, 28 Williams St., Brattleboro, VT, 05301). First Floor. 6:30pm.
The Progressive Party is, steadfastly, the progressive agenda. Vermont has the strongest Progressive Party organization in the country. We have seven House and three Senate seats in the state legislature and two state offices, David Zuckerman, Lieutenant Governor, and Doug Hoffer, Auditor. There are also progressives scattered among city councils and Select Boards. Most of the progressive legislation in Vermont is either introduced or heavily sponsored by Progressives. If you're ready to enlist in the political life of your democracy, where it counts, in the Statehouse or the local municipal arena, please join us.
Climate Change Café
a project of Post Oil Solutions presents
International Climate Expert Calls for Agents of Sustainability
Tuesday, October 24th, 2017 at Brooks Memorial Library (224 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301) in the Main Room at 6pm. Free. Light Refreshments Available
Note: It is strongly recommended that you make a reservation for this talk. Please email email@example.com to place a reservation.
The Climate Café is honored to host Dr. Edward Cameron, an international climate expert, and one of the architects of the Paris Climate Accord. Dr. Cameron will focus his presentation on three areas: individuals adopting low carbon lifestyles; communities building resilience in the face of the growing climate impacts; and states like Vermont creating economic opportunities. Cameron is also acutely sensitive to climate justice, a consciousness that was undoubtedly enhanced during his time working for the government of the Maldives, where he was responsible for their public diplomacy and climate change, as well as the World Bank where he worked on human rights and climate change. “It’s no accident,” he states, “that people of color and low income populations are the people who are hit first and hardest by these events. They don’t have the necessary resources to prepare and rebound from an extreme weather event.” Ultimately, Dr. Cameron states, individual responsibility is essential to reducing emissions and building resilience. “I would like people to think about how they can become agents of sustainability in their own right. What type of action can they take on their own, that includes taking a closer look at their choices as a consumer.”
“You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for (their) own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.”
Welcome to this week's Weekly Email Update, WeCAN family! We have lots of new listings this week, so take your time and give this email a careful read.
We hope to see many of you this Thursday, October 19th at the WeCAN Cafe starting at 7pm (you can find more information below in the email) and are excited to connect with you amongst friends as we recharge our activist spirits.
Have a productive, positive week and THANK YOU for all that you continue to do for our community. Your presence at events makes all the difference.
HAPPENING TODAY, SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15th, 2017
The Putney Huddle Regular Monthly Meeting
Sunday, October 15th, 2017 at The Putney Public Library (55 Main Street, Putney, VT 05346). 1pm-3:30pm. To RSVP via Facebook click HERE.
This meeting will include working group updates, a discussion on fundraising for the Vermont Democrats, and guest speaker Bari Shamas talking "Sex and Politics".
1pm-2pm: Updates and Dems
2pm-3:30pm: Bari Shamas
HAPPENING THIS WEEK, MONDAY, OCTOBER 16th, 2017-SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22nd, 2017
Youth4Change Group Meeting
Monday, October 16th, 2017 at The Root Social Justice Center (The Whetstone Studio for the Arts, 28 Williams Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). First Floor. 5:30pm-8pm. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Youth4Change is a project of the Root that meets every 1st and 3rd Mondays. It is for youth 12-22, particularly those from historically disenfranchised groups who want to use education, art, and action to address racial and intersectional justice. The October 16th meeting is an organizing meeting to set a timeline and tasks toward local campaigns
5:30pm: Space opens for art and hanging out.
6:30pm-8:00pm: Group meeting/training/strategy session.
Women’s Action Team Meeting
Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 at the Prouty Center (20 Austine Drive, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 5:30pm.
Calling all flavors of women! We’ll have light refreshments, nuanced conversation, and of course, bada$$ feminist action. This month we’ll focus on reproductive justice ACTION and more political art. We’ll admire the bomb ‘zine made by our Vermont ERA research team and plan for the upcoming screening of our "Break the Silence: Reproductive + Sexual Health Histories" video project (created by Willow O’Feral), a fundraiser at the Latchis on Oct 29th. Hope to see you there!
“You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health. And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion.”
There are lots of events to choose to participate in from this week, WeCAN Family. Let's get right to it:
HAPPENING TODAY, SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8th, 2017
Civil Rights for All Banner Raising
Sunday, October 8th, 2017 on Main Street in Brattleboro, VT. 8am-9am.
Let's Fly the "We Celebrate Democracy/Civil Rights For All" banner over Main Street in Brattleboro!
The Trump administration is holding an endless nation-wide "hate rally". We believe what the civil rights organization The Southern Poverty Law Center says about fighting hate: "Every act of hate should be met with an equal act of love". Otherwise hate will spread until it takes over the whole country, the way it did under Hitler in Germany. The result would be horrible for all of us. We firmly believe that "democracy/love versus tyranny/hate" is our winning battlefield. We must hold a nation-wide "love rally" to stand up to the Trump administration. Taken together all our small positive nonviolent public actions add up to a huge "love rally". The "We Celebrate Democracy/ Civil Rights For All" banner says "I love you" to all people. The banner raising is just a small part of our "love rally", but every part is an essential part. We need to be in the streets standing up for loving, caring, sharing and helping, in a massive way. Unite! We can only win this together. Stand with the banner! Stand up to hate! Please help us by making a small donation to cover the $600 banner raising fee (sixty $10 donations) as we fly the "We Celebrate Democracy/Civil Rights For All" banner over Main Street on Indigenous Peoples’ Day weekend. To donate via check please donate to "We Celebrate Democracy/Civil Rights For All" (WCD/CRFA), 1196 Lower Dover Rd, Brattleboro VT 05301 or visit our GoFundMe site here.
VOLUNTEERS URGENTLY NEEDED!!
Share the Harvest
sponsored by Edible Brattleboro
Sunday, October 8th, 2017 at the Park on Elliot Street, Brattleboro, VT. 11am-1pm.
We hope to be able to keep our Share the Harvest stand operating for the remainder of this month, but we NEED volunteers. Presently all we have are two volunteers who will be operating the stand this coming Sunday. In order to make that happen, we need two volunteers for this Saturday to collect donations from our incredibly generous farmers at the Farmers’ Market.
Then we will need 4 volunteers for each of the remaining three weekends in October, or we will have to close earlier than anticipated. If you are new to volunteering with us, don’t worry. We will pair you up with an experienced person and provide very detailed instructions as well. It’s actually fun and very rewarding to know that you are helping people enjoy the wonderful bounty from our local gardens and farms.
Here is a link to our sign up site. If you have any questions, please feel free to email or call.
HAPPENING THIS WEEK MONDAY, OCTOBER 9th, 2017-SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15th, 2017
AMERICA IN TRANSITION : Forging Families That Work for Us
A screening and workshop with filmmaker Andre Perez
Tuesday, October 10th, 2017 at the Marlboro College Graduate Center (28 Vernon St, Brattleboro, VT 05301). 6pm-8pm. Free. Trans folk and allies are welcome.
America in Transition is a web series, interactive documentary, and community engagement campaign taking a real look at social change from the perspective of trans people in marginalized communities. Each episode explores one person’s story in depth, tackling intersectional issues such as HIV criminalization in Arkansas, black trans masculine (in)visibility in the media, and barriers facing trans Latina immigrants. Forging Families Workshop: Many trans folks have conflicted relationships with our families of origin. There are often layers of trauma, misunderstanding, and frustration. Some choose to craft chosen families of our own design. How much should we change for our families and how much can we expect them to change for us? In this interactive workshop, we share personal experiences and strategize about how to navigate the complexity of family in order to build a network of supportive relationships that will nourish us.