HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii is starting open enrollment under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) without consumers being able to compare actual plans and prices.
Chief Marketing Officer Rick Budar of the Hawaii Health Connector told The Associated Press on Tuesday that consumers will be able to apply for coverage, but insurers are still testing and reviewing rates in part to make sure they’re shown correctly within the system.
Budar says he expects actual plans and prices to be up within the month, once they’re approved by insurers.
“We are going to focus on making October the month of learning,” Budar said.
Budar said about 500 residents had filled out applications by midday.
Laura Lott, a spokeswoman for Kaiser Permanente in Hawaii, said the exchange is waiting for approval from insurers because the software on the exchange’s system isn’t loading correctly.
“They are working on a fix on their side,” Lott said. “They do have all our plans and all our rates.”
When asked why the delay is happening, Budar cited the insurers’ approval and public feedback that consumers don’t want to sign up for plans right away.
Budar says he doesn’t expect many people to purchase plans until December, with coverage starting Jan. 1, the deadline nationally for most Americans to have health insurance or pay penalties.
“I don’t believe anybody wants to give their money early,” Budar said.
Budar said the website has the same functionality as what consumers get by calling a call center or seeing an in-person assister to help them buy insurance.
Hawaii was the first state to declare its intent to run a state health exchange after the law passed, and the Hawaii Health Connector was established in 2011 as a private entity that answers to the Hawaii Legislature.