Hawaii health insurance exchange
Pace of enrollment increasing on Hawaii Health Connector
By Carla Anderson
December 9, 2013
During the first two months of open enrollment, the Hawaii Health Connector has had more than 112,000 unique visitors. While just 574 have selected a health plan so far, the pace of enrollment has picked up with more signups in the last two weeks of November than in the previous six weeks.
Hawaii Health Connector initially launched minus plan and cost information. After a two-week delay, the issues were corrected, and consumers can now see health plan options and premiums on the Hawaii Health Connector. Officials have apologized, but haven’t provided much explanation of the technical troubles with the site.
Two insurers, Hawaii Medical Service Association and Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, are offering 95 plans through the marketplace. The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) Insurance Division announced that premiums on the Hawaii Health Connector would be among the lowest in the nation. A widely reported U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) study released in late September did not include information for Hawaii.
The Hawaii Health Connector is a state-run marketplace and overseen by a 15-member board. Tom Matsuda was named interim executive director of the exchange in December. Matsuda replaces Coral Andrews, who resigned.
Hawaii’s exchange operates as a clearinghouse, meaning that it is open to all qualified health plans that meet state requirements and wish to compete to sell health insurance to individual consumers and small businesses. Hawaii received about $77 million in federal grants for planning and operating the Connector. Much of that money went to develop the technical infrastructure for exchange operations.
According to HHS, about 90,000 (8 percent) of Hawaiians are uninsured and eligible to use the marketplace.
Consumers must purchase insurance by Dec. 23 for coverage to begin on Jan. 1, 2014. Open enrollment continues through March 31, 2014.
Hawaii health insurance exchange links
Hawaii Health Connector
State Exchange Profile: Hawaii
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of Hawaii’s progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.