Hawai’i Health Connector Permanent Board Members Seated July 1, 2012

Hawaii Health Connector, established to create and oversee the State’s health insurance exchange, seats 15 permanent board members this Sunday, July 1, 2012.

Cliff Alakai–Maui Medical Group
Clementina Ceria-Ulep, Ph.D., MSN, R.N.–Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE)
Joan Danieley–Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.
Jennifer Diesman–Hawai’i Medical Services Association (HMSA)
Patricia McManaman– Department of Human Services (DHS)
Beth Giesting–Hawai’i Office of the Governor
Michael Gleason–The Arc of Hilo
Robert Hirokawa, DC, DrPH, MPH–Hawai’i Primary Care Association
Faye Kurren–Hawai’i Dental Service (HDS)
Keali’i Lopez–Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs
Sherry Menor-McNamara–Chamber of Commerce of Hawai’i
Gwen Rulona–UFCW Local 480
Christina Mai’i Sakuda–Hawai’I Health Information Exchange (HHIE)
Hardy Spoehr–Papa Ola Lōkahi
Edward Wang–Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

The Connector’s aim is an exchange that is Hawai‘i-for-Hawai‘i, one that takes into account the State’s unique culture and works with the Prepaid Health Care Act, and employer mandate for health insurance coverage in effect since 1974.

Background

During the 2011 legislative session, Senate Bill (SB) 1348 relating to the Hawai‘i Health Insurance Exchange received strong bipartisan support. On July 8, 2011, Governor Neil Abercrombie signed into law Act 205 (SB 1348, CD1) establishing the Hawai‘i Health Insurance Exchange Act. The Hawai‘i Health Connector (Act 205) provides the framework for a private, nonprofit quasi-governmental health insurance exchange that conforms to the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010. The Act also established an interim board of directors, appointed by the Governor to provide the guidance in which the establishment of the Connector was founded. Act 205 states that the Insurance Commissioner of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) shall determine eligibility for the inclusion of qualified insurers and plans. The Department of Human Services (DHS) will determine eligibility for applicants in the Medicaid adult and children’s health insurance program (CHIP). Act 205 was codified into law as chapter 435H, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, establishing the Hawai‘i Health Insurance Exchange.

The Insurance Division of the DCCA applied for, and received, a Level I Cooperative Agreement to Support Establishment of the Hawai‘i Health Insurance Exchange in November 2011. DCCA in cooperation with the Connector is in the process of reassigning this grant to the Connector.

In December 2011, the interim board hired Executive Director, Coral Andrews to oversee the operational resources of the Connector, as well as recruit and hire the necessary staff needed to successfully implement the Hawai‘i Health Insurance Exchange. To date, the Connector’s staff continues to grow while working towards bringing transparent and affordable health care to the state of Hawai‘i.

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