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House lawmakers introduce bills to fix health exchange

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 4:22 p.m. HST, Jan 23, 2014

House lawmakers have introduced a package of bills aimed at fixing the troubled Hawaii Health Connector.

The most sweeping change involves turning the nonprofit the Legislature created in 2011 into a state agency three months after it fumbled the start of the online insurance marketplace created by President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

The Connector was supposed to launch Oct. 1, but did not go live until Oct. 15 due to software problems that have stifled enrollment.

Lawmakers have said that becoming a state agency could give the Connector access to greater resources, reduce information technology costs, improve security of private health information and make it more transparent.

The bills also remove insurance company representatives from the Connector's board of directors and aim to improve the system's reliability and ensure it has a long-term financial sustainability plan.

The Connector is funded with roughly $200 million in federal grants and is required to be self-sufficient by 2015.

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