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Tuesday, May 20, 2014
RGA: "ObamaCare is not working for Hawaii"
By News Release @ 9:21 PM :: 1928 Views :: Health Care

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s ObamaCare Exchange Is Most Expensive In Nation

News Release from Republican Governors Association May 20, 2014

“Bad news is piling up for Governor Abercrombie’s Hawaii Health Connector. A recent study found Hawaii’s ObamaCare exchange is the most expensive per capita in the country, costing 26 times the national average. Hawaii’s exchange has already received $204 million in taxpayer dollars and is expected to need an additional $15 million a year. Plus, Hawaii’s two largest health insurers are reporting millions in losses due to ObamaCare fees, which one insurer said could raise premiums an average of 13 percent. Millions more in taxpayer money, low enrollment rates, higher premiums; It is clear ObamaCare is not working for Hawaii. ” – RGA Communications Director Gail Gitcho

Hawaii Health Connector Costs 26 Times The National Average

Hawaii Health Connector, Hawaii’s ObamaCare Exchange, Is The Most Expensive In The Country. “Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange, the Hawaii Health Connector, costs the nation’s taxpayers the most per enrollee, according to a new study by Kaiser Health. Hawaii’s exchange, which has just more than 8,500 people registered, has a tab of about $23,899 per person.” (Malia Zimmerman, “Hawaii’s Obamacare Exchange Most Costly In Nation,” Watchdog.org, 5/15/14)

Hawaii’s Enrollment Cost Is 26 Times The National Average And 2 ½ Times The Cost Of The Second Most Expensive State. “Former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, D-Hawaii [sic], noted Hawaii’s enrollment cost is 26 times the national average, 2 1/2 times the cost for the second most expensive state . . . and considerably more than the national average of $922 dollars per Obamacare enrollee.” (Malia Zimmerman, “Hawaii’s Obamacare Exchange Most Costly In Nation,”Watchdog.org, 5/15/14)

“According To The Study, Just 8,500 Hawaii Residents Signed Up For The Hawaii Health Connector, While 150,000 People Are Needed To Make The Program Self-Sustainable.” (Malia Zimmerman, “Hawaii’s Obamacare Exchange Most Costly In Nation,” Watchdog.org, 5/15/14)

After Receiving $204 Million In Federal Money To Set Up The Exchange, Hawaii Health Connector Is Expected To Cost An Additional $15 Million A Year. “Hawaii received $204 million from the federal government to set up the exchange and build and maintain its website. The Obamacare exchange will likely cost Hawaii taxpayers another $15 million a year, according to estimates from state lawmakers.” (Malia Zimmerman, “Hawaii’s Obamacare Exchange Most Costly In Nation,” Watchdog.org, 5/15/14)

Costing Millions In Losses And Increasing Premiums

Hawaii’s Two Largest Health Insurers Reported $36 Million In Losses During The First Quarter, Which They Are Blaming On Fees Required By ObamaCare.“Hawaii’s two largest health insurers are reporting $36 million in losses during the first quarter and blaming it on fees required by the federal Affordable Care Act. The companies said Friday those fees may lead to higher costs for customers.” (“Hawaii Health Insurers Blame Losses On Health Exchange,” KITV, 5/16/14)

  • “Hawaii Medical Services Association Posted Losses Of $30.1 Million In The First Quarter And Said It Recorded $46.1 Million In Fees Related To Obamacare.” (“Hawaii Health Insurers Blame Losses On Health Exchange,”KITV, 5/16/14)
  • “Kaiser Permanente Reports Losing $5.8 Million And Paying $8 Million In Fees.” (“Hawaii Health Insurers Blame Losses On Health Exchange,” KITV, 5/16/14)

“HMSA Spokeswoman Robyn Kuraoka Says The Company Has Proposed Increasing Premiums By An Average Of 13 Percent. Kaiser Spokeswoman Laura Lott Says It’s Too Early To Say Whether The Losses Will Result In Higher Premiums, But Like Any Organization, Kaiser Has To Cover Costs.” (“Hawaii Health Insurers Blame Losses On Health Exchange,” KITV, 5/16/14)

Hawaii’s Largest Health Insurance Company Said State Needs An “Alternative” ObamaCare Exchange Website “Immediately”

Michael Gold, CEO Of Hawaii’s Largest Health Insurance Company, Said The State Should Shut Down Hawaii Health Connector, Hawaii’s ObamaCare Exchange Website. “The chief executive of Hawaii’s largest health insurance company is calling on Hawaii to shut down its beleaguered health insurance exchange, which was set up as part of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. Michael Gold, president and CEO of Hawaii Medical Services Association, says the state shouldn’t keep spending money on the Hawaii Health Connector, a system that he says is financially unsustainable and does not work.” (Cathy Bussewitz “Insurance CEO: Shut Down Hawaii Health Exchange,”Associated Press, 5/9/14)

  • Gold: “I Think There’s An Alternative That Hawaii Needs To Pursue Immediately.” (Cathy Bussewitz “Insurance CEO: Shut Down Hawaii Health Exchange,” Associated Press, 5/9/14)
  • Gold Said Sustaining The Health Exchange Would Cost The Public Too Much Through Higher Fees Or Taxes. “Gold said trying to sustain the exchange is the wrong approach because it would cost the public too much, either through fees on insurance companies or taxes. ‘The real question is how do you, in a sense, get out from under the Connector, and use the assets that Hawaii has already to get to the aims of the Affordable Care Act?’ Gold said.” (Cathy Bussewitz “Insurance CEO: Shut Down Hawaii Health Exchange,” Associated Press, 5/9/14)
  • Gold Called The Exchange A “Costly Mistake.” “Michael Gold, president and CEO of Hawaii Medical Services Association, told the Associated Press last week the state shouldn’t spend more money on Hawaii Health Connector because it’s financially unsustainable and doesn’t work. He also believes Hawaii should ask the federal government for an exception to the part of the Affordable Care Act that requires states to set up and run their own insurance exchanges, calling Hawaii Health Connector a ‘costly mistake.’” (Malia Zimmerman, “Hawaii’s Obamacare Exchange Most Costly In Nation,”Watchdog.org, 5/15/14)

“Hawaii Should Ask The Federal Government For An Exception To The Part Of The Affordable Care Act That Requires States To Set Up And Run Their Own Insurance Exchanges, Gold Said.” (Cathy Bussewitz “Insurance CEO: Shut Down Hawaii Health Exchange,” Associated Press, 5/9/14)

“[Gold] Thinks Businesses Should Buy Approved Plans Directly From Insurance Companies, As They Have Done In The Past. Individuals Would Do The Same, Or The Federal Government Could Take Over That Part Of The Exchange, He Said.”(Cathy Bussewitz “Insurance CEO: Shut Down Hawaii Health Exchange,”Associated Press, 5/9/14)

Hawaii Is Pursuing A Streamlined Exchange And Seeking Waivers From The Federal Government. “The state already is pursuing ways to streamline the exchange by removing it as the middle-man between employers and insurers, and seeking waivers from the federal government, said Beth Giesting, health care transformation coordinator for Gov. Neil Abercrombie.” (Cathy Bussewitz “Insurance CEO: Shut Down Hawaii Health Exchange,” Associated Press, 5/9/14)

Hawaii Health Connector Spent $100 Million Of The $200 Million In Federal Funds It Received. “The rollout of Hawaii’s health exchange was delayed and plagued with technical problems. The Connector was awarded more than $200 million in federal funds. It has used about $100 million. It signed up 9,217 individuals, plus 628 employees and dependents. To date, the Connector has raised only $40,350 in user fees, according to Nathan Hokama, the exchange’s spokesman.” (Cathy Bussewitz “Insurance CEO: Shut Down Hawaii Health Exchange,” Associated Press, 5/9/14)

  • “The Exchange Has To Make Deep Cuts And Renegotiate Contracts To Survive, Tom Matsuda, Interim Director Of The Hawaii Health Connector, Has Said. Lawmakers Sent A Bill Approving $1.5 Million In State Support — Far Less Than What The Exchange Asked For — To Gov. Neil Abercrombie.” (Cathy Bussewitz “Insurance CEO: Shut Down Hawaii Health Exchange,” Associated Press, 5/9/14)

Gov. Abercrombie Proclaimed Hawaii’s ObamaCare Exchange Website Would Be “Among The First, If Not The First” To Implement ObamaCare

Just A Few Months Ago, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie Was Predicting “Hawaii Will Be Among The First, If Not The First In The Nation To Fully Accommodate The Affordable Care Act.” ABERCROMBIE: “So I want to acknowledge all those who have put in countless numbers of hours to meet the federal requirements, to work together in a collaborative basis, to meet the deadlines.  To assure that Hawaii will be among the first, if not the first, in the nation to fully accommodate the Affordable Care Act and its implementation.” (Neil Abercrombie, Press Conference, 9/17/13)

But Hawaii’s ObamaCare Exchange Website Continued To Experience Problems – Even After Receiving $205 Million In Taxpayer Dollars

After Enduring A Launch Delay, Hawaii’s ObamaCare Exchange Continues To Be Riddled With Software Glitches. “The Hawaii exchange has had problems from its start, including software problems and a delay in open enrollment that led some people to skip the exchange altogether and buy plans directly from insurance companies in anticipation of a March 31 coverage deadline under President Barack Obama’s federal health care overhaul.” (Cathy Bussewitz, “Hawaii Lawmakers Question Health Exchange’s Leader,” The Associated Press,3/14/14)

  • Hawaii Received $205 Million To Build Its Error Ridden ObamaCare Exchange. “The state received more than $205 million in federal money to build a health insurance exchange to serve those still uninsured.” (Maeve Reston, “Hawaii Health Market Doesn’t Connect,” Los Angeles Times, 2/26/14)

Due To Low Enrollments, Hawaii Lawmakers “Are Proposing A Fee To Insurers” To Prop Up The “Financially Troubled” Exchange. “Hawaii lawmakers are proposing charging a fee to insurers that are not participating in the state’s insurance exchange under President Barack Obama’s federal health care overhaul. The fee would help prop up the financially troubled Hawaii Health Connector. The exchange has enough money to cover its bills for this year – but not beyond that, without some help.” (Cathy Bussewitz, “Lawmakers Propose Fees For Hawaii Health Exchange,” The Associated Press, 3/11/14)

The Exchange Will Be Unable To Finance Itself Even Under The “Best-Case Scenario” For Enrollments Moving Forward. “‘That revenue figure is far below what we think our expenses are going to be,’ said Matsuda, who has estimated that the agency will need about $15 million a year starting in 2015. Health Connector board members also looked at the best-case scenario for enrollment, and ‘even then, we’re still short on having enough revenue to cover projected expenses,’ he said.” (Maeve Reston, “Grim Scenario For Hawaii’s Obamacare Plan: The Numbers Don’t Add Up,” Los Angeles Times, 2/27/14)

Hawaii Health Exchange Officials Have Stone-Walled The Press From Learning The Full Extent Of Exchange’s Problems. “For the last two months, health care program officials — in response to records requests from the Los Angeles Times — have declined to release anything but a nine-line summary of the current year’s budget. On Saturday they produced another summary for the 2013-14 fiscal year, which they also provided to lawmakers.” (Maeve Reston, “Hawaii Health Market Doesn’t Connect,” Los Angeles Times, 2/26/14)

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