Hawaii will receive $14,440,144 in federal funds to help establish and implement the Hawaii Health Connector, an online health insurance exchange designed to help consumers find affordable health care plans, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Senator Daniel K. Akaka, U.S. Representative Mazie K. Hirono and U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa announced today.
The money comes through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and HumanServices. Hawaii is one of 13 states that will receive a share of nearly $220 million released by the federal government today to support the programs.
"Providing for the health and welfare of our citizens is one of the most important functions of government. This grant will help the people of Hawaii access and browse a wide variety of affordable health care plans so they may select the plan that best fits their health needs and budget. I am very pleased that the Obama administration continues to champion the healthcare needs of all Americans," said Senator Inouye.
"This grant is a critical step toward ensuring that all of the people of Hawaii have access to quality, affordable health care services," said Senator Akaka. "The landmark Affordable Care Act we passed last year was a commitment we made to safeguarding and improving healthcare for all Americans. This grant will go a long way to help the Hawaii Health Connector serve individuals and small businesses across the islands in accessing federally qualified health plans."
"Providing families with a wide range of options so they can choose the health plan that best fits their needs is one of the central features of the Affordable Care Act," said Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono, a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. "Protecting Hawaii's Prepaid Health Care Law and making sure those who aren't covered by the state law have access to affordable insurance through health insurance exchanges were top priorities during the crafting of the Affordable Care Act. This grant will help Hawaii build that marketplace and provide families with attractive health care choices when the act goes into effect."
"Health coverage must be affordable and accessible to every citizen who needs it. This funding will provide residents and small businesses with access to federally qualified health insurance plans while reducing the number of Hawaii's uninsured. I am pleased the Obama Administration remains committed to implementing the Affordable Care Act in a way that best fits the needs of each state," said Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa.
Health insurance exchanges are a key piece of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the national health care law championed by President Barack Obama.
In the new exchanges, insurers will provide new information such as an easy-to-understand summary of benefits and costs to consumers. The level of detail will sharpen competition between carriers, driving down costs.
According to the federal law, exchanges will be up and running by January 2014.
The Hawaii Department of Insurance will use Level One funding to establish the Hawaii Health Connector (Connector). The Connector is the Affordable Insurance Exchange for Hawaii enabled by Act 205 (SLH 2011). The Connector will serve individuals and small businesses throughout the State of Hawaii. The Connector will create a web portal that will make federally qualified health plans available to the public and reduce the number of uninsured in Hawaii.