One has to wonder why national health care insurers are avoiding participation in the Hawaii Health Connector like the plague.
As of this writing, only two companies - Hawaii Medical Service Association and Kaiser Permanente - have signed up to participate in our state's insurance exchange. The insurance exchanges are the lynchpins of President Barack Obama's signature Affordable Care Act.
Robust competition between insurance companies to gain those who are uninsured as customers is supposed to keep policies affordable. But, right now, the only participants signed up for the exchange are already Hawaii's two largest insurers.
Where is Aetna, Unitedhealth Group, Wellpoint, Humana or Cigna? Are the barriers to getting into the health insurance business in Hawaii so great that we have scared off even the biggest companies?
With only a couple of months left to go before the exchanges are supposed to work their magic, the state needs to revisit the connector and see what can be done to attract more participation by insurers.
The Health Connector's website spells out its mission right on its home page:
"In the weeks and months ahead, we'll compare the many health insurance plans from which you can choose, verify that each meets minimum federal standards, and provide you with their costs. As you explore your options, you may even discover that you qualify for financial help, government subsidies and public health insurance programs.
"Our goal is to make health insurance easier to buy and easier to understand, so that every individual, every family and every small business in Hawaii can enjoy the benefits of medical care. After all, the healthier we are, the more our community prospers."
It is hard to see how that mission is going to be accomplished if the choices of insurers remain as limited as they are now.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.