Health Insurance Exchange Receives Federal Approval

January 3, 2013, 4:39 PM HST · Updated January 3, 5:46 PM
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Coral Andrews, executive director, Hawaii Health Connector. Courtesy photo.

By Sonia Isotov

On Thursday, the US Department of Health and Human Services gave conditional approval to the Hawaii Health Connector to operate a state-based health insurance exchange in Hawaii in compliance with the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).

This is a key milestone in the establishment of the state’s online health insurance marketplace, which opens for enrollment on Oct. 1, 2013.

“This is great news for Hawai‘i. The approval reflects that Hawai‘i is still in the forefront of health insurance exchanges nationwide and highlights the collaborative spirit that enabled us to achieve this milestone on time,” said Coral Andrews, executive director of the Hawai‘i Health Connector, in a written statement.

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“While there is still much work to be done, we are confident that we will meet the necessary requirements to open our doors for business nine months from now, on Oct. 1, 2013.”

To receive conditional approval, the Connector was required to demonstrate significant progress in the development of the state-based health insurance exchange.

The Hawai‘i Health Connector is currently working with the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), the Governor’s Office and Administrative Departments, the Legislature and the community to ensure that Hawai‘i is on track to establish its health insurance exchange by Oct. 1, 2013 for open enrollment, and plans going into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

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As part of the conditional approval, an agreement was also developed that outlines the timeline for expected milestones and regular progress reviews to ensure all remaining requirements are met.

“This conditional approval validates our collaboration in getting the insurance exchange up and running and our commitment to the Affordable Care Act and its promise for universal coverage and better health,” said Governor Neil Abercrombie.

“Through the Connector, individuals and small businesses will have access to a transparent marketplace that provides quality health insurance choices.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, the US Department of Health and Human Services must approve or conditionally approve state-based exchanges by Jan. 1, 2013, for operation in 2014.  More information about the Hawai‘i Health Connector is available at www.hawaiihealthconnector.com.

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