Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange relaunches with more glitches

Coral Andrews, Hawaii Health Connector Executive Director
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Coral Andrews, Hawaii Health Connector Executive Director

BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – HONOLULU — Officials claim that HawaiiHealthConnector.com, the online Obamacare exchange designed to provide individuals and small businesses with information about health care plans, federal subsidies and tax credits, is now fully operational. But that wasn’t the case yesterday for some who tried to log on.

The website went live Oct. 1 after a great deal of media hype, but for two weeks, the exchange had no information on the 95 health insurance plans it would eventually offer, including pricing.


Some individuals and businesses contacted insurance companies directly, and were issued the same plans, but they couldn’t apply for the tax credits or federal subsidies by not going through the exchange.

Coral Andrews, executive director of the Hawaii Health Connector, said the exchange’s website was fully operational as of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

But while some consumers were able to view the information on plans and pricing, others continued to receive an error message that read: “This website is temporarily unavailable, please try again later” or were greeted by a blank page.

During the 22-minute press conference, Andrew wouldn’t provide the media with an update on how many individuals or small businesses from Hawaii had registered for Obamacare since Oct. 1.

The exchange’s public relations firm announced on Oct. 2 that 20,000 people had logged onto the website on the first day, that operators took 1,257 calls and 1,181 residents completed applications.

Andrews also didn’t disclose the number of people the exchange needs to sign up to be financially self sufficient by 2015.

There are 100,000 uninsured people in Hawaii, around 8 percent of the population, and Hawaii Health Connector hopes to capture that market.

Health insurance providers pay a 2 percent fee to the exchange for any plan secured through it.

Those familiar with Hawaii Health Connector’s initial budget said some 300,000 individuals need to sign up to make the nonprofit self sufficient by 2015 or state taxpayers will likely be subsidizing the $200 million-a-year operation.

Andrews would only say the state Legislature “in its wisdom” established Hawaii Health Connector as a nonprofit, which provides a number of options for meeting the federal self sufficiency mandate.

Hawaii Healthcare Connector plans to partner with 34 agencies, at least one on every island, that will in turn help individuals and small businesses get registered for health care, tax credits and federal subsidies.

Andrews didn’t offer reporters an updated figure on the number of agencies with which they had secured contracts.





  1. What are we paying this person for? She does not disclose any information and does not seem to know any details. Or she is deliberatley being obtuse to hide the fact that obamacare is a terribly flawed plan with little chance of success. I wonder how much she is being paid.

  2. Congress didn't read it.
    DHHS can't implement it.
    How the hell are these lowlifes they drag off the street going to "navigate" it for you??

    $20 says she
    a promotion

  3. The implementation in Hawaii is dead last in terms of rolling out functionality (behind even the national website which is now under congressional investigation).

    The truth is the Abercrombie administration bears full blame for this; the top administrators of the hawaii health connector, office of healthcare transformation, department of consumer affairs, office of information management and technology, and department of human services ALL report to Governor Abercrombie.

    Instead of working together, the administration has been simply dysfunctional on this. 100s of million of public money has already gone on into this, and hundreds million each year will continue.

    Coral Andrews is being paid in excess of 200k, many of the other administrators are paid in excess of 100k. All they do is fight each other.

    How about let's put the infighting aside for once and actually help the people of Hawaii?

  4. At this point, all parties should rally together and adhere to the Governor's and CIO's vision for Hawaii.

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