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Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Only 3,500 Sign Up for Obamacare in Hawaii
By Selected News Articles @ 12:26 AM :: 4551 Views :: Hawaii Statistics, Health Care

Only 3,500 Sign Up for Obamacare in Hawaii

AP: The Hawaii Health Connector has signed up about 3,500 people for health insurance in the past month, an improvement from last year when just 275 people signed up for coverage in the first month of the troubled health exchange.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: 3,500 is far short of the 130,000 cited by Kissel in a Nov 28 Star-Adv interview as a break-even figure for the Connector.) 

But customers are still reporting problems enrolling through the website.

Patty Kroh of Pahoa says she waited five days to get a phone call returned after being unable to enroll as a new customer on the website. Kroh, 58, complained on the Health Connector's Facebook page, and after sending messages through the social networking website a staff member called her back and said that they'd had the wrong phone number on file, she said....

About 1,000 to 1,500 people started the enrollment process but didn't finish, said Executive Director Jeff Kissel....

People who had enrolled last year and were trying to update their selections were the most likely to have problems, because they may have had damaged data files from last year that had to be cleared manually, Kissel said.

That was the case with Jillian Marohnic, co-owner of Volcano Hideaways, a small company that does vacation rentals in Volcano, Hawaii. Marohnic wanted to browse through the options to see if she should change plans, but when she interacted with the website she kept getting error messages.

"This year I thought it was going to be easy because all we had to do was renew, but I logged into that account and of course it still didn't work, 14 months later," Marohnic said.

While trying to enroll herself and her husband, Marohnic was told three different amounts for her estimated tax credit, ranging from about $440 to more than $500, she said. At one point she was instructed by the website that she had to apply for Medicaid, but she clicked the "appeal" button on the Connector website and the appeal worked, she said....

Marohnic and her husband, both in their mid- to late-50s, and earning a combined annual income of about $44,000, saw their collective monthly premium increase from an estimated $215 a month after subsidies to about $274 monthly. But Marohnic couldn't browse the plans in advance to select another option, she said.

Some customers got turned off when they couldn't compare plans without filling out forms and going through a Medicaid screening....

UPDATE Dec 19: Hawaii Health Connector enrollment deadline extended to Dec 31

UPDATE Dec 20: The connector said it has enrolled 15,000 people

read ... More signups at health exchange; issues linger

  *   *   *   *   *

From Hawaii Health Exchange December 10, 2014

Health Exchange Executive Director Jeff Kissel appeared as a guest on today’s Hawaii News Now Sunrise with Howard Dicus. He provided a Connector update on the show. You can view that morning segment right here >>> Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL

EDITOR’S NOTE: Kissel December 10, 2014 told HNN: “About 12,000” have signed up for coverage.  He did not indicate how many of these were applying for Medicaid, nor how many were previously insured.  Based on Kissel's comments to AP on Dec 16, apparently 8,500 signed up for Medicare.   

  *   *   *   *   *

USNWR: A State-by-State Look at Exchanges As Obamacare Deadline Looms

Hawaii: Hawaii Health Connector has enrolled nearly 1,500 new residents as of Dec. 5. Last year glitches to the website caused enrollment to be delayed by two weeks. According to HealthInsurance.org, the state’s uninsured population has gone down from 8 percent of the population to 6 percent of the population since Obamacare went into effect.

  *   *   *   *   *

Hawaii Health Connector Seeks out Immigrants: Need 130,000 Just to Break Even

SA Nov 28, 2014: Kissel: The Connector employees are down to 34....we still need to raise additional money to get through fiscal 2015....If there is a commitment on the part of our government and our community to support the Connector, then we think we can raise the money....We’ve helped over 40,000 people in Hawaii get access to Medicaid...  (Yep.  They linked 40,000 people to DHS and DHS signed them up for Medicaid.  Congratulations, Hawaii, you just paid $205M for a link on a webpage.)

The Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act of 1974 was the model that the nation should have adopted, and we wouldn’t need the Affordable Care Act. That (1974) act requires employers to provide a certain level of insurance coverage, not just in terms of the coverage, but also the lower deductibles and co-payments for every working person. That allowed Hawaii to develop one of the finest health care systems in the United States.

On a preliminary basis — I emphasize that this is very preliminary work — we have seen an indication that it looks like we can break even in about 2018-2019 and start to throw off a surplus in 2020. But I’m not going to ask anybody to take that on faith. We have to demonstrate that with hard facts.

Q: Can you say broadly how that is possible?

Kissel: We need 130,000 insured individuals, whether they’re members of the business community or insured individual on a single basis, to break even … on an annual basis. We need about 150,000 to start to throw off enough cash to build the reserves we need to continue to do the work we need to do in the community....

it’s not just the Micronesians who come here; it’s any lawful resident who is entitled to medical benefits here. If they qualify for subsidy under the federal plan, then the federal government is helping cover their medical cost, instead of the community....

(Note: Federal dollars aren't 'community'.  And you don't pay federal taxes.  Really.)

read ... They need more customers than there are uninsured

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