The Hawaii Health Connector Board of Directors met Friday to discuss the glitches that delayed the site's launch by two weeks and what the future holds in store.
The problems facing the Hawaii Health Connector are well-documented: the failed launch on Oct. 1 and the length of time it takes to enroll in a program.
"Health care selection is complex and it's not really like shopping for eggs at the market. And with $205 million in federal tax funds that went to the design and implementation of the Connector, it still remains a mystery in terms of what that truly was," said Steve Tam, director of advocacy for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Hawaii.
Tam wanted to see a breakout of applicants, individuals and small businesses, by island and age groups. He also brought up the same question many people have had going to the Connector site.
"We note that the application process is lengthy and can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes or longer depending on the complexity of the individual and their family. This really will discourage people from applying," Tam said.
And that's contrary to what the site is intended to do. Out of 100,000 potential applicants, there have been nearly 2,250 applications started, 440 completed. But so far, there's no way of knowing how many have been enrolled.
The complexity makes it tough for health care workers, especially when it comes to certain deadlines.
"I know there was the IRS thing and the Social Security shutdown and everything. We heard everything about the Jan. 1 deadline, but we didn't hear about the overnight processing that Med Quest could do," health care consultant Ellen Kekipi Awai said.
The Affordable Care Act is complex and the Hawaii Health Connector executive director concedes that the start up of the system has been slow.
"I do want to acknowledge to the public that you were expecting something on Oct. 1 and it looked different. We are very happy that we were able to bring that up on October the 15th," Hawaii Health Connector Executive Director Coral Andrews said.
Andrews says applications and those enrolled will be updated on a weekly basis.
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