Hawaii Health Connector to provide coverage for 100,000 Hawaii uninsured

Published On: Jul 12 2013 06:32:54 PM HST

The Hawaii Health Connector will provide insurance to those who cannot get it through an employer, but without enough public awareness, the enrollment date may be coming too quickly.

HONOLULU -

"Our big concern now is how will people know that these things are going to happen or know what's coming?" said Gerry Silva, president of Hawaii AARP.

"We are building this machine," said Hawaii Health Connector Chief Marketing Officer Rick Budar, adding that the brand new system is unlike any start-up he's been involved in.

For 100,000 Hawaii people, it will be the health care option they never had.

The Hawaii Health Connector is an online system to provide insurance for those who can't get it through an employer.

But with 80 days to the start of enrollment, some are worried those who need it won't know how to get it.

"At this point we hope we can get some good solid answers," said Silva.

"We have a very ambitious task to just to get this baby up and running by October 1," said HHC Executive Director Coral Andrews at the annual meeting on Friday.

There, AARP members demanded more input in setting up that website to make sure it's user-friendly and flexible.

They also pressed for more advertising, to get the word out faster.

AARP believes advertising needs to be big, bold, and in places where people will see it, such as on the sides of buses, along with posters in neighborhoods and in emergency rooms.

They are suggestions organizer are taking with a grain of salt.

"We are evaluating the most effective way to reach the people we need to reach," said Budar, adding their also focused on not wasting money.

He said community teams have been meeting with small businesses and community leaders for months now and plan to start paper and TV ads in August.

They will also hold an online demo at the capitol on July 31 at 12:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.

It's all part of an effort to make sure their message gets to the right people, in time.

"Basically they need a lot of hand holding and help to get through this," said Silva.
 

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