Hawaii Health Connector still without plans

Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:37:16 AM HST   Updated On: Oct 03 2013 06:57:52 AM HST

Still without health care plans for a second day, some Hawaii lawmakers called for the state's new health care exchange to fix its problems.

The numbers are in, and they show Hawaii's Health Connector has been busy. Residents are going on-line or calling to find out about affordable health care.

There were nearly 20,000 visits to the state's website, almost 1,200 applications submitted and over 1,250 phone calls on the first day alone.

Some lawmakers are focusing on a different number though: the number zero.
That is the number of healthcare plans currently on the website for people to see or sign up for.

"They don't have a place where people can plug in their income and get a determination of what plans they qualify for and the cost. Those are the things people really want," said Representative Della Au Belatti, the Chair of the Hawaii Health Committee.

Residents still have more than two months to apply for a plan. Those plans start on Jan. 1. Because of all that time, Health Connector executives aren't concerned about the delay in posting plans, instead they want people to take the time to learn more about the program and various options.

"The website has a mission of getting people educated to understand what the law is about and who it affects," said Hawaii Health Connector CMO Rick Budar.

Who it affects are residents seeking affordable health care or currently without insurance. Those still without care in 2014 will be penalized $95 from next year's tax refund.

That penalty has some worried about the days of delays in picking plans with Hawaii's health exchange.

"It is critical this gets fixed completely in the next couple of days. It is absolutely unfair that there is a mandate that people have to have insurance and the system is not up and ready for them," said Senator Josh Green, the Chair of the Health Committee.

"It should be just as simple as going on a website and looking for the price of a plane ticket or when you go to the store and they tell you the price of your food. If we are going to make it a mandate, we should make it absolutely transparent and simple," added Green.

State legislators will hold informational briefings to discuss the problems for uninsured residents, but that won't happen until Oct. 9 at the State Capitol.


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