Categorized | Health

Matsuda takes over as interim executive director


Tom Matsuda began his new role this week as interim executive director of Hawaii Health Connector, announced Sherry Menor-McNamara, president of the Connector’s board of directors.

Matsuda resigned his post Dec. 6 as Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation manager in the governor’s office.

The Connector’s board has begun a search for a permanent executive director, Menor-McNamara said.

The Connector has continued to make progress with enrollment in the past weeks since the departure of Coral Andrews was announced.

On Nov. 22, the Connector reported enrollment had reached 340, and as of last Friday, the total jumped to 574. “Enrollments” are defined as individuals who have completed their applications and selected insurance plans, and that those selections have been turned over to insurance companies to complete the enrollment and payment process.

With no break between roles, Matsuda will hit the ground running and is ready to tackle the challenges that have been facing the state health insurance marketplace.

“I’m committed to devoting my full attention and energy to continuously improve the Connector,” Matsuda said. “Although the Connector has made major strides forward in comparison to some of the other state marketplaces, we have more room for improvement. The Connector team will continue to focus on ongoing process improvements, and I will be responsible for keeping all of our stakeholders apprised of our progress on a regular basis.”

“The Hawaii Health Connector plays an important role in meeting the needs of Hawaii’s uninsured and providing small businesses with quality health plans to meet the healthcare needs of their employees,” he said. “This ultimately translates into a more vibrant local economy as healthcare resources in our community are better managed and there can be investment in other areas to support our state.”

Prior to joining the Hawaii Health Connector, Matsuda had been the ACA implementation manager with the Office of the Governor, since September 2012.

Matsuda returned to the Islands after spending 25 years in Portland, Ore. He was executive director of Legal Aid Services of Oregon in Portland from 2001 to 2012; and was with the law firm Kell, Alterman & Runstein LLP, also in Portland, from 1988 to 2000. He started at the law firm as an associate attorney, was named a partner in 1993, and a managing partner in 1996.

Before he relocated to Oregon, Matsuda was with the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii from 1980 to 1987, starting as a staff attorney before being promoted to deputy director in 1984.

Matsuda, a Kaimuki resident, is a graduate of Punahou School, and received a bachelor of arts degree in Asian studies from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a law degree from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.

The Hawaii Health Connector is the online health insurance marketplace for Hawaii.

The Connector was established as a non-profit organization in 2011 by the Hawaii State Legislature through Act 205, in order to comply with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010.

The Connector’s aim is an online marketplace that is of 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.

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