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Hawaii Health Connector executive director to resign

By Kristen Consillio

LAST UPDATED: 10:47 a.m. HST, Nov 22, 2013

Hawaii Health Connector executive director Coral Andrews is resigning from the state's problem-plagued health insurance exchange effective Dec. 6.

Andrews said in a conference call with reporters this morning that she was not forced to resign. "This is my choice," she said, adding that she recommended to the exchange's board that it was time for a leadership transition.

"The Hawaii Health Connector has been one of the most challenging, yet fulfilling, roles that I've had in all my years in health care, particularly here in Hawaii in the last 25 years," said Andrews who has been executive director since December 2011. "Hawaii Health Connector has been my baby and has required constant nurturing and attention. The connector has reached a point where I now need to let go and let someone else take charge."

The Connector's board of directors named Tom Matsuda, the state's Affordable Care Act implementation manager, interim executive director effective Dec. 9 and has launched a search for Andrews' replacement. She was paid $175,000 a year as executive director.

Her resignation comes at a critical juncture as the nation prepares for major provisions of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act to take effect, the most controversial of which is a mandate that most Americans get health coverage or face tax penalties in 2014. Consumers must enroll in health plans by Dec. 15 for coverage that begins on Jan. 1. 

The Connector is Hawaii's state-based health insurance exchange designed to match low-income residents with subsidized health plans.

The Connector website, where consumers could compare plans and enroll for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, was supposed to launch on Oct. 1 but did not go live until Oct. 15 due to software problems. Hawaii was the last state in the nation to go live with health plans on the exchange.

In its first month of operation, the Connector had enrolled only 257 individuals in Obamacare health plans. Andrews has said that she expected to enroll as many as 300,000, including an estimated 100,000 uninsured, over the next few years.

The 1,754 applications the Connector received in October was the fifth lowest number in the nation.

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allie wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on November 22,2013 | 09:25AM
WooWoo wrote:
So many factors play into a successful implementation of this scope that it is impossible for those of us on the outside to make an informed judgment. I'm willing to bet that this is NOT a situation where everyone under her was an all-star and everyone above her was supportive and she just happened to stink. I'm sure that there is a lot of blame to go around. Everyone else, however, will just keep collecting their paychecks.
on November 22,2013 | 09:39AM
1local wrote:
all directors should resign and give back their money
on November 22,2013 | 11:24AM
HealthyandHappy wrote:
But will she pocket 100 million before she goes?
on November 22,2013 | 12:14PM
islandsun wrote:
She probably did have lousy State workers above and below her no doubt. But the blame ultimately falls on the Gov.
on November 22,2013 | 01:21PM
jomama wrote:
its a non profit not a government agency
on November 22,2013 | 06:34PM
serious wrote:
She got into an impossible situation to try and manage, even Michelle's friends can't do it.
on November 22,2013 | 04:39PM
Squidy wrote:
Neil didn't appoint her.
on November 22,2013 | 09:55AM
palani wrote:
Sure sounds like it was mostly his decision. After all, he established the quasi-government Connector.

Governor to Establish Health Care Exchange in Hawaii

And now it's time for President Obama and his HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to follow Andrew's lead and resign for their failures.

on November 22,2013 | 10:34AM
localguy wrote:
We should also accept the resignation of every republican congressional and senate rep for their throwing up wasteful roadblocks for 3-years trying to block the ACA. Had they accepted the inevitable the ACA would have been up and running already.
on November 22,2013 | 12:09PM
Nalukai wrote:
Let’s not stop there, my goodness, the republicans are responsible for everything wrong in this universe ! Ohhh yea B.O. was just declaimed a diety of no small proportion, do you think god. has anything to do with this ? LOL ?
on November 22,2013 | 01:24PM
Maipono wrote:
Yeah those rascally Republicans! They should just agree to everything the Dear Leader says, since he is so smart and foresaw all that was coming down about Obamadon'tcare. Imagine that, they didn't control the House or the Senate when Obamadon'tcare was passed, without any of their input or approval, yet they are supposed to embrace it like an ulua to a nice juicy squid, I wonder what you have you been smoking?
on November 22,2013 | 02:04PM
GorillaSmith wrote:
Are you high? The Dems created this absurd sinkhole and it's the Republicans' fault? I'm sure your viewpoint is of great comfort to the millions of decent Americans who've already lost their health coverage under this debacle. Your comment is the very definition of blind partisanship. Much like slavery and prohibition, Obammycare will soon be relegated to the scrap heap of history.
on November 23,2013 | 12:30AM
grantos wrote:
doubt you knew her name before this article yet you comment like you have first hand knowledge
on November 22,2013 | 11:22AM
twitter6 wrote:
Neil should do stand-up. His actions are nothing short of hillarious
on November 22,2013 | 02:16PM
false wrote:
Another way to put is: "It's getting too much for me, let someone else take over".
on November 22,2013 | 09:28AM
iwanaknow wrote:
Don't worry, someone will rise to their level of incompetency.
on November 22,2013 | 09:34AM
Coldwater wrote:
"I got money, run away, wait for next gig."
on November 22,2013 | 09:42AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Good, instead of carrying on, the administration sees that changes got to happen and is doing it nationwide.
on November 22,2013 | 10:12AM
inlanikai wrote:
When the going gets tough, the weak get going.
on November 22,2013 | 10:20AM
iwanaknow wrote:
Remember, there is no problem so large you can't run away from......quote from Charlie Brown.
on November 22,2013 | 01:07PM
Keolu wrote:
Don't need health connector. Most of Hawaii was getting Med Quest benefits already. Just like food stamps.
on November 22,2013 | 11:22AM
airplane_bridge wrote:
millions spent and only a few hundred have applied… heads should be rolling don't you think?
on November 22,2013 | 09:35AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
This is not a head rolling thing?
on November 22,2013 | 10:11AM
Rapanui00 wrote:
Obama will be remembered as the worst president since Carter when the history books are written. A failed presidency and policy not to mention we are still involved in numerous military actions around the world!
on November 22,2013 | 10:37AM
Keolu wrote:
Haha, now, not when he history books are written.
on November 22,2013 | 11:22AM
grantos wrote:
guess you were sleeping during 2001-2009
on November 22,2013 | 11:24AM
localguy wrote:
Same for all the congressional and senate reps who for years have failed to pass a budget on time, to do the core requirements of their job. Most dysfunctional congress and senate ever.
on November 22,2013 | 12:10PM
eastside808 wrote:
Dont shoot the messenger! Pres should have made sure his pet project was a go from the get go. Let's put this on the one that ultimately is responsible for the whole fiasco. Hard to maintain credibility when his pet project is badly misfiring. What other shortcomings is he responsible for like national and global economy, renewable energy, global warming, etc. Cant shoot arrows if you dont have a bow.
on November 22,2013 | 09:41AM
Kahu Matu wrote:
Has anyone yet read the entire Obamacare law? I get the feeling that we are all discovering its perils together. One would think that the President and those who are implementing this debacle would have a greater understanding of the law and not just see it as a child that they have to learn about as it starts to take life. How long until this thing gets shut down and rates can go back to increasing incrementally not exponentially?
on November 22,2013 | 09:51AM
HanabataDays wrote:
If nobody's read it cover to cover, that may be partially due to the fact that Congressional Republicans put in over 1,000 pages of amendments to the original bill.
on November 22,2013 | 10:26AM
Kahu Matu wrote:
So just blame the Repubs. That story is getting so old. The Dems have pushed this garbage down our throats and now they look like idiots.
on November 22,2013 | 03:58PM
Rapanui00 wrote:
really???? You are a Kool Aid drinker -
on November 22,2013 | 08:29PM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Not sure she should be calling it "her baby" b/c leaving the post this early looks like she's abandoning her baby in its infancy.
on November 22,2013 | 09:44AM
Matsu wrote:
It is call abortion, and it seems to be a more and more popular approach nowadays, except now it is called "choice".
on November 22,2013 | 09:56AM
AhiPoke wrote:
Sorta like rats fleeing a sinking ship. The state has spent $M's to sign up a few hundred people. Another political boondoggle where friends and family get rewarded for their political patronage. When will this end? When all the money runs out, which may be very soon.
on November 22,2013 | 09:47AM
thatsmyname wrote:
Why wait till Dec 6, just leave now!
on November 22,2013 | 09:48AM
toad103410 wrote:
She wants to get her last full paycheck!
on November 22,2013 | 09:55AM
harley1 wrote:
Then she's unemployed and has to sign up for (gulp) obamacare on her most excellent website that works superbly.
on November 22,2013 | 07:28PM
Pailonaono wrote:
Best comment so far.
on November 22,2013 | 11:56AM
Skyler wrote:
Can't say that I blame her... sinking ship on fire & all that.
on November 22,2013 | 09:49AM
lowtone123 wrote:
Too hot
on November 22,2013 | 09:50AM
Matsu wrote:
Classic- She makes $175K a year, then when the program fails, she bails. How about we demand her mony back?
on November 22,2013 | 09:54AM
localguy wrote:
Can you say "Claw backs"?
on November 22,2013 | 12:11PM
roadsterred wrote:
When the going gets tough, the tough leave. $175,000 salary and she's leaving. What's up with that, not being paid enough? Governor Abercrombie should not have accepted her resignation because she needs to stick around and see this fiasco known as Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) through. How dare you take taxpayers' money and run away.
on November 22,2013 | 09:57AM
inverse wrote:
That is like saying the public should demand Chow stay the full five years on his coaching contract to see it through. Get the feeling Andrews was given the "option" of resigning or be fired.
on November 22,2013 | 01:48PM
Workingrl wrote:
Yikes, her paycheck was bigger than the Governors!! Who pays for it? the taxpayer??? This is absurd
on November 22,2013 | 10:07AM
Keolu wrote:
Why not? The highest paid State Employee has led us to an O-10 record in football. Paying for incompetence is the democratic way!
on November 22,2013 | 11:24AM
loquaciousone wrote:
It looks like Barry's unaffordable health care is going down in flames and taking a lot of people for the ride. It's time to scrap it and start all over again.
on November 22,2013 | 10:22AM
HanabataDays wrote:
Yes, scrap it for Single Payor and stop playing footsie with insurance corporations.
on November 22,2013 | 10:27AM
ellinaskyrt wrote:
on November 22,2013 | 10:35AM
inlanikai wrote:
Buh, bye! I'm sure you will end up on some other state's Exchange some day. You can claim your "unique experience" on your CV. Maybe even go on the payroll of CGI!
on November 22,2013 | 10:22AM
palani wrote:
Take the money and run. Next, let's hear from queen Sebelius and emperor Obama. They should have the decency to follow Andrews lead.
on November 22,2013 | 10:25AM
Rapanui00 wrote:
well said!
on November 22,2013 | 10:37AM
d1shima wrote:
300k and less than 300 enrolled then outta here! I want a refund!
on November 22,2013 | 10:31AM
squidman22 wrote:
The rats are always the first to jump off a sinking ship.
on November 22,2013 | 10:38AM
hungryhawn wrote:
You failed! You're overpaid! You've been here way long! Thanks for ripping us off!
on November 22,2013 | 10:50AM
BluesBreaker wrote:
The main problem was the website and hiring CGI as the developer. Procurement decisions would not be left to her. There's a lot of politics involved in a big juicy contract like this one was. This resignation looks more like a sacrificial lamb than the culpable party taking the blame.
on November 22,2013 | 10:52AM
cojef wrote:
Ahh, naive you. Michelle Obama college classmate is an official of the Canadian firm CGI that was paid over $500 Million. The State Exchanges were also funded by the Federal Government under contract. This is adebacle huge magnitude and the taxpayers again gets shafted up you know where.
on November 22,2013 | 11:25AM
Rapanui00 wrote:
yes you have the facts correct - Obama needs to be impeached!
on November 22,2013 | 08:31PM
BluesBreaker wrote:
Interesting connection with Michelle Obama. I've been trying to figure out how an incompetent firm, like CGI keeps getting government contracts.
on November 22,2013 | 09:58PM
localguy wrote:
BluesBreaker - I was just going to say the very same about Grabby Boy, HART, and our rail debacle. I'm sure we will be seeing the same there in the coming years.
on November 22,2013 | 12:12PM
inlanikai wrote:
Is there anything that goes on in this state with government, quasi-government organizations, government funded operations that you find fault with?
on November 22,2013 | 12:39PM
iwanaknow wrote:
BluesBeaker, if you are Mufi...........keep looking for that pony in the shi-shi?
on November 22,2013 | 01:13PM
BluesBreaker wrote:
Did you not read my post as a criticism of the Hawaii Health Connector and government procurement? There's a long list of government organizations and QUANGOs that I find fault with, including the DOE, the legislature (both houses), and the department of taxation, to name three. But there are so many here that excel at criticizing these institutions, my contribution would pale in comparison.
on November 22,2013 | 10:05PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Hawaii Health Connector has been my baby and has required constant nurturing and attention.

I think she means Rosemary's baby. Should be terminated for cause, not allowed to resign.

on November 22,2013 | 11:11AM
inverse wrote:
Probably was fired but the cover for everyone to save face is that she is resigning
on November 22,2013 | 01:51PM
Pailonaono wrote:
Please take me with you momma!
on November 22,2013 | 11:55AM
st1d wrote:
she hid behind the cloak of bureaucracy until the connector failures were too public to hide her high salary anymore. time to find another program to bleed dry while remaining incompetent in the background, like abercrombie in the house of representatives.
on November 22,2013 | 11:56AM
hikine wrote:
I have feeling she was going to reject Obama's request to re-instate health insurance to people who lost it with the ACA. Some States rejected Obama's request for a one year exemptions but this just goes to show you that when you make ACA into law you can't just go back and break your own law! The insurance companies are just following the law and now they are being blamed for dropping health coverages that people had once before. Obama should have looked over his ACA with a fine tooth comb so things like this shouldn't happen! The ACA is a work in progress. Also why would people be penalized for not having ACA? It's seems like it's mandatory to get the ACA whether you like it or not? What of people who are already struggling with basic needs to pay this penalty in the tune of $100 per month?
on November 22,2013 | 11:56AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
Great. Do we get our $200 million dollars back she spent on a free blogspot website and all slushy, slushy money they gave to political insiders for "community outreach?"
on November 22,2013 | 12:02PM
inlanikai wrote:
Nope. This is Hawaii.
on November 22,2013 | 12:40PM
wn wrote:
Please conduct your own research on CGI Federal. They are the folks who put up the healthcare.gov and worked on the Hawaii Exchange Website. As it was passed onto me. A top executive and acquaintance of the First Lady, Toni Townes-Whitley, Princeton class of ’85 is senior vice president at CGI Federal. CGI Federal was awarded the contract to build the $600 million Obama care enrollment website at Healthcare.gov. George Schindler, the president of the Canadian-based CGI Group, CGI Federal’s parent company, became an Obama 2012 campaign donor after his company gained the Obama care website contract. Interesting that there was so much money to spent and so little return on investment (ROI)...whoops government doesn't sweat these details. Why so difficult? I enrolled in Amazon Prime and got everything set up in 5 minutes and ordering stuff...returns with labels provided, updates on return tracking and credit posted....no problems...hmmm....
on November 22,2013 | 12:29PM
control wrote:
CGI is just another in a long list of government contractors at the feeding trough. Too bad republicans and neo-cons aren't so anxious to do the connect-the-dots game with their military contractor buddies and donors.
on November 22,2013 | 01:11PM
Waterman2 wrote:
Smartest thing she ever did......the kaka going to hit the fan and anybody with any brains is gonna run for cover. What this Obamacare thing is is an impossibility. Pure political shibai, will bring down insurance co.s , hospitals, doctors and patients all one big kaboom one time ! Simple math. The fifth card in the full house of collapse is our economy. Buy plenty Coleman fuel and c rats. But at least we live where it doesn't freeze. Not yet anyway.
on November 22,2013 | 03:59PM
sukebesan wrote:
Waterman2: Best comment that I have read in a long, long time. My new name for Obamacare: ODOODOOCARE
on November 22,2013 | 08:05PM
Ronin006 wrote:
Her sales record was dismal but what do you expect when you are trying to sell a severely flawed product?
on November 22,2013 | 04:10PM
kaimuki21 wrote:
When congress and the president switch to obamacare/affordable care, then citizens will trust our elected officials more. People whose insurance got cancelled were forced to change. Why not our politicians if this is as great as they thought. People who had other ideas were shot down as were those who had questions about obamacare funding and implementation. Notice our politicians are not publically calling this Obamacare as frequently- check out the number of times Obamacare came up earlier and in the last month, it is now publically called by the original name, affordable care act.
on November 22,2013 | 04:15PM
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