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Young adults target of health exchange

February 24, 2014
The Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii's online health insurance exchange hopes to boost enrollment by targeting younger adults.

The Hawaii Health Connector is making an aggressive push this weekend aimed at so-called "invincibles," those who see insurance as an unnecessary expense.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, one-third of Hawaii's enrollees were between the ages of 55 and 64, while 14 percent were between the ages of 26 and 34.

The enrollment drive comes after a national study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed Hawaii with the lowest number of sign-ups under President Barack Obama's federal health care overhaul.

Part of the reason for Hawaii's small number of enrollments is an already low number of uninsured people because of a state law that requires employers to provide medical coverage for full-time workers. And many in Hawaii have opted to keep their current health plan, even if they are eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, said Tom Matsuda, the Connector's interim executive director.

The "Weekend of Action" includes 21 outreach events on various islands. An enrollment drive at the University of Hawaii at Manoa is geared toward college students, especially those who are no longer covered under their parents' health plans.

"We've also invested significant time and resources to reach out and educate younger adults about the value of health insurance coverage," Matsuda said.

The state's online health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act has suffered from problems, including a two-week-late launch and technical glitches.

Nanette Napoleon of Kailua, Oahu, said she's still trying to get medical coverage through the Connector.

"I am continually frustrated and dismayed at just how dysfunctional the Connector is," she said. "What a big, fat mess."

She selected a plan in December but then switched to a cheaper option the next day. A month later she received the wrong policy and has been trying to resolve the problem. Meanwhile, she remains uninsured.

 
 

 

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