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Hawaii takes lead in developing health insurance exchange

Gov. Neil Abercrombie says Hawaii is the first state to declare its intent to develop a state-based insurance exchange — a key component of federal health care overhaul.

The Obama Administration’s health care reform law calls for states to establish exchanges by 2014. The exchanges are marketplaces where individuals and small businesses may choose from an array of private health coverage plans.

Abercrombie says the 50th state’s exchange will be called the Hawaii Health Connector.

The private, nonprofit corporation is a quasi-governmental agency. It was established by state law last year.

The governor said Wednesday he formally declared Hawaii’s intention earlier this month in a letter to the U.S. Health and Human Services Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.

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