Categorized | Health

Hawaii Health Connector signs IT contract


The Hawaii Health Connector, which was established to create and oversee the state’s health insurance exchange, will begin the first phase of the information technology (IT) system next week as the result of a contract with Public Consulting Group (PCG) of Boston.

The $452,800 contract with PCG is for the first phase which includes a project management plan for the insurance exchange, a concept plan for the IT system and architecture and developing the specifications for building the IT.

“The Connector’s goal is to link Hawaii’s people, particularly individuals and small businesses, with access to affordable health care coverage,” said Coral Andrews, Hawaii Health Connector’s executive director.

To do that, the Connector requires sophisticated information technology that will provide an electronic “super highway” that lays out the health benefits, choices and costs available to them, while protecting personal information.

“We’ll have a one-stop web portal that will allow a consumer to find out eligibility for assistance, best coverage and rates. Small business will have access to more cost-effective plans, too,” Andrews said.

The Legislature established the Hawaii Health Connector last year as a private, non-profit organization, recognized as quasi-governmental by federal authorities. Since then, the Connector has been under construction — establishing policies, setting goals and mission, hiring staff and contractors.

“Based on newly released federal guidelines, we are setting governance principles that include ethics, conflict of interest, accountability and transparency standards and disclosure of financial interest,” Andrews said.

Hawaii and other states have until January 2014 to get these exchanges up and running or risk the federal government taking over the function.

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

It is led by an Interim Board of Directors appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in August 2011. The Board is to serve until the permanent board, confirmed by the Hawaii State Senate, is seated July 1, 2012.

Board members:

* Sherry Menor-McNamara (Chair) — Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii
* Robert Hirokawa (Vice-Chair) — Hawaii Primary Care Association
* Cliff Alakai (Treasurer) — Maui Medical Group
* Joan Danieley — Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.
* Jennifer Diesman — Hawaii Medical Services Association
* Dr. Kenneth Fink — Hawaii Department of Human Services
* Beth Giesting — Hawaii Office of the Governor
* Michael Gleason — The Arc of Hilo
* Gordon Ito — Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
* John McComas — AlohaCare
* Gwen Rulona — UFCW Local 480
* Christine Maii Sakuda — Hawaii Health Information Exchange
* Edward Wang — Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

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