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Friday, May 15, 2015
Ige: Feds Secretly Declared Hawaii Health Connector 'Non-Compliant' in February
By News Release @ 4:03 AM :: 3703 Views :: Health Care

IGE ADMINISTRATION ACTIVELY ADDRESSING HAWAI‘I HEALTH CONNECTOR NON-COMPLIANCE

News Release from Office of the Governor May 13, 2015

HONOLULU – The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found the Hawai’i Health Connector (HHC) to be non-compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) earlier this year.  The non-compliance included unresolved IT issues, a non-integrated eligibility enrollment system and lack of financial sustainability.

CMS contacted the state administration about these issues.  Since February 2015, representatives of Governor David Ige’s administration have been meeting with HHC to determine how to address non-compliance.

Concurrently, CMS restricted grant funding to HHC and is providing limited funding pending approval of a draft plan being developed by the state and HHC.

Recent news reports based on confidential working draft documents have misrepresented ongoing discussions between the federal government, the state administration and HHC.

If Hawai’i’s plan is not acceptable to CMS, Hawai’i risks losing $1 billion in matching federal Medicaid funds.

“Governor Ige and his administration will negotiate the release of federal grant funds to ensure compliance with the ACA in time for the Fall 2015 open enrollment,” said Deputy Chief of Staff Laurel Johnston.

“Our first priority is to ensure the continuity of coverage for the 37,000 to 40,000 Hawai’i residents who are receiving health insurance coverage through HHC,” said HHC Executive Director Jeff Kissel.

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OK.  Which of these news reports "misrepresent ongoing discussions" ... ?  

Star-Adv May 9, 2015: Health Connector to Shutdown, Transfer Technology to State

SA: The Hawaii Health Connector has prepared a contingency plan to shut down operations by Sept. 30 after lawmakers failed to pass legislation to keep the state's troubled Obama­care insurance exchange afloat.

"Now that it is clear that the state will not provide sufficient support for the Hawaii Health Connector's operations through fiscal year 2016 (ending June 30, 2016), the Connector can no longer operate in a manner that would cause it to incur additional debts or other obligations for which it is unable to pay," Connector officials said in a report released Friday to the nonprofit's board of directors.

The plan, obtained by the Hono­­lulu Star-Advertiser, states the Connector will cease new enrollments Friday, discontinue outreach services May 31 and transfer its technology to the state by Sept. 30. The Connector's workforce will be completely eliminated by Feb. 28. The exchange has 32 employees, 29 temporary staff and 12 full-time contractors.

"Staff reductions will commence immediately, with the executive director (Jeff Kissel) exiting once the bulk of operational activities end," the report said. "If the state cannot facilitate an orderly transition, the Connector's operations will abruptly end, as the Connector does not have the resources to continue operations." ...

The federal government has required the state submit its contingency plan to move to healthcare.gov no later than Monday. The estimated cost of migrating to healthcare.gov this year is about $30 million....

"All I know is healthcare. gov doesn't work," Sen. Roz Baker (D, West Maui-South Maui) told board members. "We have to take the best calculated risk. There's a lot of unrealistic expectations."

read ... Bye-Bye

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Star-Adv May 10, 2015: Ige Helped Write Legislation on HHSC, Health Connector

Borreca: On several important pieces of legislation, Ige had a hand in actually writing the bills under consideration by the House and Senate.

"It was a very successful session for this administration and the Legislature. It was a joint effort," said Ige at a news conference last week.

"This shows what we can do when we are working together," Ige added, pointing to the changes to the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. and the Maui Memorial Hospital privatization bills as "an effort to find common ground and move the bills forward."

Ige explained that on the Maui hospital bill, for instance, although his administration had been testifying on the bill, the legislative committees were not including the administration's views.

"So I just asked them to take a step back. We agreed on the outcome and we agreed to get the best bill we could," Ige said, adding that his regular meetings with House and Senate leadership and major committee chairpeople paved the way for his legislative victories.

Rep. Sylvia Luke, House Finance Committee chairwoman, said Ige met every week with the House and Senate money committee leaders....

in comparison to Abercrombie who bellowed at Democrats at a 2011 convention to "Stop the excuses; stop walking around as if you're not listening to anybody else except yourselves," Ige, by listening, is being heard....

read ... New governor, new way to work with Legislature

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Ige administration plans to use federal exchange for Obamacare

Star-Adv May 13, 2015: Gov. David Ige's administration is set to approve a plan to spend $30 million for one year to temporarily use the federal exchange, healthcare.gov, to enroll residents in insurance under Obamacare.

The "corrective action plan" being discussed between the administration and the federal government to prevent closure of the Hawaii's exchange would require the state Department of Human Services spend $20 million to link its Medicaid eligibility system to healthcare.gov. The Hawaii Health Connector estimates it would have to spend another $10 million to $11 million to connect to the federal exchange, state officials disclosed at a Connector board meeting Friday.

That amounts to $810 per person for one year to enroll in coverage under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare....

The Connector, a nonprofit created by the Legislature in 2011, has prepared a contingency plan to shut down operations by Sept. 30 after lawmakers failed to pass legislation to keep the state's troubled insurance exchange afloat. The Legislature recently granted the Connector just $2 million in state funding, less than half the $5.4 million Connector officials said they needed to continue operations this year.

The contingency plan, obtained by the Hono­­lulu Star-Advertiser, states the Connector will cease new enrollments Friday, discontinue outreach services May 31 and transfer its technology to the state by Sept. 30. The Connector's workforce will be completely eliminated by Feb. 28. The exchange has 32 employees, 29 temporary staff and 12 full-time contractors....

The state was notified in March that Hawaii was out of compliance with the Affordable Care Act because the Connector wasn't financially sustainable at the start of this year and wasn't integrated with the Medicaid system, which determines eligibility for subsidies and tax credits obtained through the exchange.

The federal government subsequently restricted grant money to support the Connector and moved to take over its IT functions to allow residents to enroll in coverage through the federal marketplace, healthcare.gov....

Under the contingency plan, Connector functions would be transferred to the state so that the roughly 37,000 enrolled on the exchange would not lose their coverage. However, residents would have to re-enroll in healthcare.gov to ensure coverage for 2016.

read ... Final Collapse of Exchange

Health Connector Boss Learned of Exchange Shutdown Plan from Media

PBN May 13, 2015: Details of the possible shutdown were reported by a Honolulu newspaper over the weekend, citing a draft corrective action plan submitted by Gov. David Ige’s administration to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which officials from his office say were apparently leaked.

“The state submitted a draft corrective action plan to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on May 11, 2015,” Ige spokeswoman Jodi Leong wrote in an email to PBN. “The CMS will review the draft and provide feedback to assist the state in finalizing the plan. No dates have been set for further action. As we discussed, the plan is in draft form and therefore will not be released at this time.”

Hawaii Health Connector Executive Director Jeff Kissel said he did not know what the report contained until details outlining the gradual closing of operations by the end of the third quarter were reported on Saturday....

In Hawaii’s case, Ige has intervened personally and is “actively working with the federal government to find a solution now that the Legislature has determined how much to give us,” Kissel told PBN on Tuesday....

Of the estimated $204 million in federal grants that the Hawaii Health Connector received to establish the online health care exchange mandated by the Affordable Care Act, all but about $70 million of it has been spent so far. Kissel said about $14 million of the remaining amount is restricted to fund the final build-out of the Connector.

When asked if there is any cause for alarm at this time, Kissel said, “Absolutely not.”

“No matter what happens, there’s going to be coverage available for everyone, but we’re working with the federal government to ensure that any transition that may need to occur is seamless,” he said.

Related: Hawaii’s $205 Million Obamacare Exchange Implodes

read ... Out of the Loop

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Failed Health Connector: Hawaii risks losing $1 billion in matching federal Medicaid funds After Months of Secret Negotiations

KITV May 14, 2015:  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found the Hawai'i Health Connector to be non-compliant with the Affordable Care Act earlier this year, according to Gov. David Ige....

The non-compliance included unresolved IT issues, a non-integrated eligibility enrollment system and lack of financial sustainability.

CMS contacted the state administration about these issues. Since February 2015, representatives of Gov. David Ige's administration have been meeting with HHC to determine how to address non-compliance.

Concurrently, CMS restricted grant funding to HHC and is providing limited funding pending approval of a draft plan being developed by the state and HHC.

The governor says recent news reports based on confidential working draft documents have misrepresented ongoing discussions between the federal government, the state administration and HHC.

If Hawaii's plan is not acceptable to CMS, the state risks losing $1 billion in matching federal Medicaid funds.

SA: $1B at Risk

AP: Johnston said the health connector isn't ready to meet this deadline, putting at risk $1 billion in federal matching funds

read ... Failed Health Connector

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