Choosing the right plan under the Affordable Care Act in Hawaii - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Choosing the right plan under the Affordable Care Act in Hawaii

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The Hawaii Health Connector television ad tells viewers the exchange will help consumers compare health insurance plans.

But Dr. Joyce Cassen, an ophthalmologist in Aina Haina, said making the right choice involves more than comparison shopping. People need to know if their physician will participate in the plan they choose.

"Right now we're very open to participating, but it may come to a point where we'll just say, 'No, we're not going to participate because the reimbursement is so slow and so minimal,'" she said.

If your doc opts out you may have to change physicians. But for now the Connector's only promoting health coverage plans from HMSA and Kaiser.

"Those two plans which are using the Connector tend to have a lot of physicians available. So I think people will find docs," emergency room physician Josh Green said.

There are four coverage categories. Cassen recommends putting together a personal checklist.

"I would want something affordable, minimum premium, minimal co-payment, routine exams covered, that I could go to any specialist I wanted to," she said.

The exchange offers 95 different plans. Green said pay attention to the details.

"The multitude of variations are usually the smaller choices that people make. Do I want to include dental or not? Do I want no co-pay or a big co-pay?" he said.

Eventually other carriers are expected to join the exchange.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see United and AlohaCare and the new Family Health Hawaii plans also finding a niche in the Connector," Green said.

Cassen said the most important thing is for consumers to do their homework

"Some people don't know what they want," she said. "They just want to be covered. They just want to have their family covered."

In that case the decision may simply come down to cost.

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