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Lifestyle // Proof Positive
MidWeek Staff

Connecting Hawaii With Health Care

By Tom Matsuda, interim executive director, Hawaii Health Connector

Hawaii Health Connector has helped many uninsured individuals and families enroll in new health insurance plans.

For instance, Valerie is a business owner in Honolulu who also has worked as a part-time bookkeeper for the last decade, just so she could have health insurance coverage. Now, because of the Affordable Care Act and Hawaii Health Connector, Valerie was able to enroll as a sole proprietor in the health plan of her choice. She even can continue seeing her same doctors.

As of Jan. 1, Valerie’s new plan has better benefits than her previous plan and costs about $30 a month less. She now is able to devote more attention to building her own business, and is continuing her part-time job because she wants to, not because she needs coverage.

Through the Connector, individuals and families can choose from a range of insurance plan options, compare plan benefits and prices, and select their plan and enroll.

Depending on income and family size, tax credits may be available. If available, the Connector will calculate the amount of tax credits so consumers can review the available insurance plans and options with their financial assistance information in mind. Small businesses also are able to set up an employer account on the website, review insurance plan options and choose the plans and levels of coverage they will offer to their employees.

To help residents understand their options and enroll in a quality health plan, the Connector also has a team of marketplace assisters working for nonprofit organizations on each island. We call them Kokua because they are available to help answer questions. For a list of Kokua on each island, go to the “Marketplace Assister” link on our website, HawaiiHealthConnector.com. The open enrollment period began in October and continues through March 31.

The Connector’s customer support center (877-628-5076) also is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week to assist customers. Support in multiple languages is available. For more information about the Connector, please visit HawaiiHealthConnector.com.

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