NU Online News Service, July 8, 6:44 p.m. – Hawaiian Gov. Benjamin Cayetano, a Democrat, has vetoed S.B. 2093, a bill that would have provided immunity from civil liability for persons reporting health insurance fraud.

S.B. 2093 would have protected a person who gave information about “suspected, anticipated, or completed insurance fraud” to government officials or another insurer, if the information were provided “only for the purpose of preventing, investigating, or prosecuting insurance fraud,” according to the bill text.

The only exception would have been for whistleblowers who committed perjury or acted with malice.

S.B. 2093, which was introduced by Sen. David Matsuura, D-South Hilo, Hawaii, faced little open opposition as it made its way through the state legislature.

The final version of the bill passed 25-0 in the Senate and 44-0 in the House.

Cayetano himself says he agrees with Matsuura’s goals.

But Cayetano says S.B. 2093 is seriously flawed because it does not give the insurance commissioner the means to fight insurance fraud, and because it does not give immunity to persons who report fraud to the health plan actually affected by the fraud.

“Because most reports of fraud are given to the affected health plans, not another insurer, the bill greatly reduces the practical benefits of the immunity,” Cayetano says in a message explaining his reasons for vetoing the bill.

The text of the bill is on the Web, at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/sessioncurrent/bills/sb2093_hd1_.htm