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Hawaii exchange site starts selling plans

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HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawai’i Health Connector — Hawaii’s state-based public exchange — began giving consumers the ability to actually enroll in plans Tuesday, more than two weeks after the start of open enrollment.

Coral Andrews, the exchange executive director, said at a news conference that consumers can now review and buy plans offered on the exchange’s website, at

“We heard from you,” Andrews said. “We know you’ve been anxious to get up and running.”

The vendor that helped build the connector, CGI Group Inc., signed a four-year, $53 million deal earlier this year.

Exchange plan open enrollment started Oct. 1, and officials have given insurers permission to sell a total of 95 plans through the exchange.

Exchange managers spent more than two weeks trying to fix technical problems that rendered the site plan shopping system unable to display plans and prices.

The delay caused some people without insurance to go directly to insurance companies. Insurers can sell the same plans to the consumers, but the insurers lack the ability to see whether consumers are eligible for the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) health insurance purchase tax credits.

Consumers were able to give the exchange basic contact information. Exchange officials say users submitted about 1,200 preliminary applications on the first day. The exchange has been averaging 30,000 unique website visits per day and about 400 telephone calls per day.

Andrews says connector employees will manually process initial applications that came in before the plans went live on the site.

She declined to give an estimate of how many applications were part of the backlog but said initial applicants would be contacted within the next few days.

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