Hawaii’s Healthcare Exchange Bites the Dust


Last month I shared a report about how a number of state healthcare exchanges are struggling financially. The Washington Post wrote:

“Nearly half of the 17 insurance marketplaces set up by the states and the District under President Obama’s health law are struggling financially, presenting state officials with an unexpected and serious challenge five years after the passage of the landmark Affordable Care Act.”

“Many of the online exchanges are wrestling with surging costs, especially for balky technology and expensive customer call centers — and tepid enrollment numbers. To ease the fiscal distress, officials are considering raising fees on insurers, sharing costs with other states and pressing state lawmakers for cash infusions.”

I then reported:

“…that Hawaii’s state run healthcare exchange is having severe financial problems. Good old Gov. David Ige (D) and loyal supporter of Barack Obama admitted that efforts to finding a solution to the growing financial and technical problems with the state’s exchange have been unsuccessful.”

“Hawaii’s current problems, financially and technologically, means their state run exchange is not meeting the standards established by the federal government. If they are unable to find a solution soon, they will have no choice but to scrap the state run exchange and direct Hawaii’s residents to the infamous federal HealthCare.gov.”

Evidently, the problems facing officials with Hawaii Health Connector are beyond help, causing them to pull the plug on the state’s healthcare exchange. According to the Huffington Post:

“The state invested $130 million in the Connector, but the exchange has been plagued by low enrollment numbers and technological issues, making it noncompliant with the federal requirements outlined in the Affordable Care Act.”

“‘It was a failed project,’ state Sen. Sam Slom (R) told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. ‘It was a boondoggle from the very beginning, and our residents deserve better than that.’”

Hawaii’s Governor David Ige (D), spoke about the state’s exchange, saying:

“The viability of state health insurance exchanges has been a challenge across the country, particularly in small states due to insufficient numbers of uninsured residents.”

Hawaii will now join the federally run Healthcare.gov, placing more financial burdens on the already struggling federal program.

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