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State health insurance exchange moves forward

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The federal government is approving technical designs for a new online health insurance marketplace the state is setting up under the Obama administration’s health care reform law.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s office says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services both approved the plans on Monday.

The online marketplace is called Hawaii Health Connector.

It’s designed to provide insurance to middle-class households who currently can’t get their own. Individuals and small businesses may use the exchange to select a private health plan.

Hawaii Health Connector will start signing up customers on Oct. 1 for coverage beginning Jan. 1.

Executive Director Coral Andrews says the announcement signals the exchange has made significant progress.

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