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Exchange name: Hawaii Health Connector
State-based or federally run: Hawaii Health Connector is among the 17 declared state-based health insurance exchanges, which include Washington, D.C.
The Hawaii State Legislature established the Hawaii Health Connector as a nonprofit in 2011. The Connector is meant to be “an online marketplace 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, an employer mandate for health insurance coverage in effect since 1974.”
Plans: Hawaii Health Connector offers health insurance plans for individuals and families, as well as small business employees. Those who qualify for financial assistance, as well as those who do not, may apply for coverage at the new online marketplace.
Hawaiians who visit hawaiihealthconnector.com must create an account to shop for health plans. As with all plans that meet the Affordable Care Act’s essential minimum coverage—coverage that fulfills the requirement that most Americans have health insurance in 2014—Hawaii’s plans will fall into the four metal levels and include services within the 10 essential health benefits categories.
Rates: Once Hawaiians shopping for health insurance coverage have enrolled at hawaiihealthconnector.com, they will have access to monthly premium rates based on factors such as geographic location and applicant age. Under the Affordable Care Act, Americans cannot be denied coverage or charged more due to preexisting conditions. These provisions apply whether plans are purchased via the marketplace or not.
Consumers may use online calculators to estimate their Obamacare premium subsidy, which is based on household income. The healthedeals.com Health Care Reform Calculator, which was listed among The Financial Times “Best Online Tools for the Toughest Health Questions,” can help those planning to buy from an exchange calculate their Obamacare health insurance cost and tax credit.
Consumer assistance: Hawaii Health Connector offers a Marketplace Assistor tool that helps residents find in-person assistors near them. Theses assistors may include agents and brokers as well as Kokuas, which are people trained to educate and assist Hawaiians shopping the marketplace.
For additional help, hawaiihealthconnector.com offers a web chat function and customer assistance hotline at 877-628-5076.
Additional coverage options
Consumers in all states are wise to consider additional protection. For instance, a bundled gap plan that includes coverages such as accident medical expense insurance and accident disability income insurance pays lump-sum cash benefits when a qualifying event occurs and can help create more comprehensive benefits like those offered through an employer. A critical illness insurance plan pays out lump-sum cash benefits upon diagnosis of certain illnesses that can be used for everything from medical bills to childcare.
Supplemental insurance is not available through state-based or federally operated health insurance exchanges and do not qualify for Obamacare premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies. However, these plans come in designs to fit various household budgets, and they easy to obtain directly from the plan’s carrier or a licensed agent or broker.
Need coverage now?
If you need health insurance to get you by until Jan. 1, 2014, a temporary insurance plan can provide coverage for as few as 30 days. Start shopping on healthedeals.com or contact a healthedeals.com sales consultant for more information on short-term health insurance and supplemental plans.
Jenifer Dorsey is a freelance writer whose specialties include health and fitness, wellness, sports and recreation. She is a competitive amateur track cyclist who also enjoys mountain biking, hiking, camping and other outdoor adventure. Jenifer received a B.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago and is an MFA candidate at Naropa University. She lives in Colorado.