State lawmakers are considering turning the nonprofit Hawaii Health Connector into a state agency nearly two months after it fumbled the start of the online insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act.
The Connector, the state-based health insurance exchange assigned to sign up
State officials said Thursday at a briefing on the Connector that making the organization a state agency could give it access to greater resources, reduce information technology costs, improve security of private health information and make it more transparent.
"In all the other states, they're pretty much state agencies or part of state agencies," McKelvey said. "Then you look at things like transparency and other issues that you have by being a state agency that is not necessarily present as a private nonprofit."
"We need to have a tough conversation about what the Health Connector is going to look like in the future where we can restructure it in a way so that it's beneficial for our state," she said.
The Connector's interim executive director,
The Connector has been operating with
Matsuda said the Connector's goal is to enroll an additional 133,000 residents in fiscal 2015 -- 39,000 individuals and 94,000 workers. He added that he did not know how those numbers were determined.
Matsuda told House lawmakers that the Connector has spent
"There's nothing that says we have to spend all of it. I want to spend what we need to accomplish the goal and mission of the organization," Matsuda said. "Beyond that, I'm certainly not interested in wasting taxpayers' money."
Aside from charging insurance companies a 2 percent fee on premiums starting in January, the Connector has no other "substantial" form of revenue to sustain operations once the federal funds dry up, he said.
"The goal is to be self-funded and not rely on public funds,"
After the grants end, the Connector projected operating expenses of more than
"With enrollment so far below what's needed to break even, the taxpayers will be on the hook to bail out the Connector," said
Regarding security of health information,
"I've not seen the full sustainability model, and I don't think they've had a chance to fully produce it," he said. "(But) health systems and health data ... are going to be under increasing attack. That's why security has to be taken up to the next level. They should look at whether the Connector itself should become a state agency."
Credit: Kristen Consillio
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