POSTED: 12:54 p.m. HST, Jul 17, 2012
The state's health insurance exchange, known as the Hawaii Health Connector, designed to provide residents access to affordable health insurance, is seeking proposals for the construction of its online marketplace.
The exchange is the first major piece of the federal health care reform and is being set up as a private non-profit organization.
"This is a tremendous opportunity to build a system that will make health insurance more transparent and available," said Coral Andrews, executive director of the Hawaii Health Connector.
The set up of the exchange has come under fire by consumer advocates because health insurers who stand to benefit from the thousands of uninsured that will potentially use the Connector, serve on the board and are also helping to design the system.
The Connector is governed by a 15-member board, which includes representatives of the Hawaii Medical Service Association, the state's largest health insurer; Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, the dominant health maintenance organization; and Hawaii Dental Service.
The federal Affordable Care Act requires states to set up health insurance exchanges, which will match uninsured individuals to subsidized health care plans.
The law mandates that health insurance exchanges —envisioned as one-stop shops where health plans compete and consumers compare medical plans — be operational nationwide by January 2014. The exchange could be used by as many as 100,000 uninsured Hawaii residents to select their health care coverage.
Interested companies can find the request for proposal and information about the connector's online at www.hawaiihealthconnector.com. Public notices about the RFP will be published in the daily papers for all islands.