This is a photo of Pedro Lopez asking how long it will take to sign up for insurance at the Access Health CT store in New Britain.
Access Health CT has added a special enrollment period to help uninsured people get access to coverage. Arielle Levin Becker / The CT Mirror file photo

Vermont officials are considering turning to Connecticut’s health insurance exchange as an alternative to that state’s struggling Obamacare marketplace.

Officials in Vermont have given the state’s exchange, Vermont Health Connect, deadlines to make improvements; the first one comes at the end of this month. But if those deadlines aren’t met, state officials are expected to explore alternatives, including using the federal government’s exchange.

Vermont Lt. Gov. Phil Scott said in an interview that he and other state leaders, including Gov. Peter Shumlin’s administration, have met with officials from Access Health CT, Connecticut’s exchange. Scott said the idea came from a discussion at a lieutenant governors’ meeting with Connecticut Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who leads the board that oversees Access Health. Scott said officials have also met with Rhode Island officials about their state’s exchange.

But Lawrence Miller, Shumlin’s senior health care advisor, said he’s still focused on making Vermont’s exchange work.

“If we were to decide to go in a different direction, which is very unlikely, we would look at everything that’s available on the landscape,” he said.

In Vermont, the governor and lieutenant governor are elected separately. Shumlin is a Democrat, while Scott is a Republican.

Access Health has been marketing its services to other states since last year. Maryland already uses the Access Health system for its exchange, replacing the troubled system it used in 2014.

Access Health’s budget for the next fiscal year anticipates raising $3 million in revenue from the division that markets services to other exchanges. CEO Jim Wadleigh said officials have been speaking to other states about sharing services and other functions.

Arielle Levin Becker covered health care for The Connecticut Mirror. She previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter, and has also covered small towns, courts and education in Connecticut and New Jersey. She was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists, a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the third-place winner in 2013 for an in-depth piece on caregivers from the National Association of Health Journalists. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University.

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