The State of Hawaii and the Hawaii Health Connector today received the next stage of approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to launch Hawaii's new online health insurance marketplace on Oct. 1, 2013. The Connector had received conditional federal approval in January following the submission of its marketplace operating plans.
"This is an important step in our progress to transform healthcare in Hawaii," said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. "Every resident deserves a good, equitable system of healthcare, and this new online marketplace requires insurers to offer better benefits and reward quality."
When launched, the online marketplace will serve as a convenient, one-stop resource for eligible individuals, families and small businesses to browse and purchase health insurance. The Connector will be the only place where individuals and small businesses can qualify for tax credits, subsidies and cost sharing reductions, per the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) is implementing a state-of-the-art eligibility system, integrated with The Connector, which includes an online application. DHS will determine eligibility for Medicaid and federal subsidies to purchase health insurance through this new online marketplace.
"DHS has fully seized the opportunity to use available federal funding to modernize its IT systems to better serve Hawaii residents," said DHS director Patricia McManaman. "An estimated 300,000 Medicaid beneficiaries will be the first to benefit from this service."
"Today's announcement signals that we have made significant progress toward the delivery of a state-based insurance marketplace to our community by October 1," said Coral Andrews, executive director of the Hawaii Health Connector. "Achieving this milestone is a reflection of tremendous collaboration by stakeholders engaged at all levels. It is another step toward enabling access to affordable health insurance coverage statewide."
The Connector, DHS, the Governor's Office, the Office of Information Management and Technology, and other state departments have been working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services and the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight to ensure Hawaii is ready for open enrollment through its online marketplace. Plans purchased through the Connector from Oct. 1, 2013 will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.
For more information about the ACA and Hawaii's implementation, visit the DHS website at: humanservices.hawaii.gov/aca/ and the Hawaii Health Connector website at HawaiiHealthConnector.com.