hawaii health exchangeHigh Premium Rates Expected in Hawaii Due to Lack of Competition

The Hawaii health exchange will only have two insurance companies offering health plans when it opens on October 1. The two insurers, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii and Hawaii Medical Service Association, were the only two companies to submit qualified health plans for approval by the state’s insurance department.

In most other states, at least five carriers are expected to participate on the exchanges, which is in line with the original goal of the Affordable Care Act to provide competition in the insurance market to lower premium costs. While this may be the case in states with more options, Hawaii residents could see their rates go up because of the lack of competition on the Hawaii health insurance marketplace.

Uncertainty About Mandates Keeping Companies Away

Some insurance companies are staying away from the Hawaii health exchange at least for the first year because they are concerned about how the mandate requiring them to cover people with pre-existing coverage is going to affect their costs. This is one of the reason, both Hawaii Medical Assurance Association and University Health Alliance are unsure if they will be able to compete with the larger companies in the state and staying away from offering insurance plans in the Hawaii health exchange.

Because of their hesitancy to enter the market, consumers could face sticker shock when they see the premium rates for the plans that are being offered on the Hawaii health insurance marketplace. Experts are predicting an influx of patients who have never had health insurance but now are demanding care. This demand, along with fees for operating on the Hawaii health exchange, will be reflected in higher premiums.

Hawaii Health Exchange Subsidies Will Bring Costs Down

Even though the premiums will likely be higher to begin with, many Hawaii residents will receive federal subsidies to help pay those costs. Currently, eight percent (89,974) of Hawaiians are uninsured and eligible to purchase insurance on the Hawaii health exchange. Of that number, 94 percent (84,629) will qualify for either federal subsidies to help them buy private insurance or for Medicaid of Hawaii. The state has elected to participate in the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, which will allow more residents to qualify for Medicaid.

The Hawaii health exchange will allow consumers to compare policies based on the same criteria and decide which plan is most affordable for them. Since insurers can no longer deny people with pre-existing conditions from coverage, the law will help people who are already sick get the care they need for the same costs as healthy people.

Assister Program Will Help With Education, Enrollment

The Hawaii health exchange is partnering with 34 community-based organizations to provide assistance to consumers who have questions about the new law and enrollment into the plans on the exchange. The assisters will be referred to as “Kokua” and will provide out-reach and education to individuals and small businesses looking to learn more about the plans on the Hawaii health exchange. The health exchange is also developing a customer support center that will provide assistance to consumers over the telephone, via web chat and through the postal mail. It will be open seven days a week for 12 hours each day to answer health insurance-related questions.

Hawaii has been granted 14 awards that total $1,204,918 to provide 14 health centers that operate 79 sites statewide with the funds needed to provide outreach and enrollment services to approximately 21,516 people who might otherwise not know about the Hawaii health exchange. Last year, these centers served 144,427 people, of which nearly 24 percent were uninsured.

hawaii health insurance exchange

To learn more about ObamaCare and how it will affect consumers see this. More information on different topics on ObamaCare in general are available here as well as implication of ObamaCare on small businesses is described here.

Looking for Affordable Health Insurance? You can use this FAST AND EASY form to get affordable Hawaii health insurance quotes for obamacare plans and save money. (Our recommended affiliate links)