HONOLULU – The Executive Committee of the Hawai‘i Health Connector (the Connector) voted on Thursday, November 19 to recommend to its Board of Directors to accelerate the transition of remaining functions of the Connector to state authority. The Connector’s ongoing financial challenges have forced the state to accelerate the transition beginning December 1, 2015. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services determined that Hawai‘i was not in compliance with certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). One of the provisions required the Connector to be financially self-sustaining beginning Jan. 1, 2015.
The governor and state cabinet officials, in consultation with Connector leadership, agreed that this transition was in the best interest of Hawai‘i residents because the state has already transitioned to the federal marketplace – healthcare.gov – for enrollment of individuals during this current open enrollment. Open enrollment began on Nov. 1 and concludes on Jan. 31, 2016.
This open enrollment is for Hawai‘i residents not eligible for health insurance through their employer or not enrolled in a government insurance program. Individuals seeking insurance are encouraged to enroll by Dec. 15 to ensure that their coverage begins on Jan 1, 2016. Individuals who are currently enrolled in ACA plans will need to re-enroll through healthcare.gov.
“Through the leadership of several members of my cabinet, including Directors Rachael Wong, Linda Chu Takayama, Catherine Awakuni Colon, Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito, and Chief Innovation Officer Todd Nacapuy, the state has collaborated with federal officials to facilitate this transition so that we can work toward restoring compliance with ACA. I especially appreciate the diligence of the Connector’s volunteer board of directors and the support of Sen. Roz Baker and Rep. Della Belatti,” said Gov. David Ige.
“Due to Hawai‘i’s long history of health care coverage through the Prepaid Health Care Act of 1974, the rate of uninsured individuals has been amongst the lowest in the nation. The Connector was established to reach out to uninsured Hawai‘i residents who were not covered under the Prepaid Health Care Act or government health insurance programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. We believe we were successful in reaching many of these previously uninsured individuals. Hawai‘i residents will still be able to continue to access affordable health care coverage through healthcare.gov ” said Jeff Kissel, executive director, Hawai‘i Health Connector.
The final board vote is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 25.
Office of the Governor
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