Hawaii consumers confused by all the changes surrounding health insurance can visit a new HMSA neighborhood center for answers. The HMSA Center @ Honolulu opens today on the first floor of the company’s Keeaumoku Street building, right across from Walmart. The new 3,600 square foot space is equipped with a state-of-the-art health screening station, a touchscreen terminal service counter, self-service kiosks, private meeting areas, a large conference room, and a central area where HMSA will hold healthy living workshops, classes, and community gatherings. For now, the center’s main focus is providing in-person information to people with questions about health care reform and the law, which will soon require almost everyone in Hawaii to have health insurance.
“Choosing a health plan and knowing exactly what you’re getting can be confusing” said Michael A. Gold, HMSA president and chief executive officer. “No one understands that better than us. That’s why we’re opening these new centers. We don’t want people to choose a plan only to find out the benefits they need aren’t covered, and we don’t want them paying for more coverage than they’ll use. We want Hawaii residents to have a place they can go for help and answers from someone they trust.”
The new HMSA Center @ Honolulu is the first of three neighborhood centers planned for this year. The HMSA Center @ Pearl City is scheduled to open in the Pearl City Gateway Center later this month and the HMSA Center @ Hilo is scheduled open at the Waiakea Center in December. All three centers were chosen for their locations to make HMSA more accessible. And they’ll be open at convenient times.
“We realize that not all Hawaii residents have time to visit us during the work day. So we’re extending our hours and increasing our locations,” said Gold. “We want people to be able to come to us when and where it’s convenient for them.”
For now, the HMSA Center @ Honolulu will be open from 8 a.m. — 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, while the HMSA Center @ Pearl City will be open from 9 a.m. — 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The three centers will be staffed by a total of 22 health plan experts, many of whom are existing HMSA employees with years of experience and expertise. Because of the changes prompted by the Affordable Care Act, all staff members in the centers have been training for the past three months to prepare for any and all situations.
“Hawaii residents will still be able to visit our new centers to pay their bills, get answers about their claims, and get help finding a doctor like they do now at our existing offices,” said Gold. “But we’ve updated our centers and we’ve added new technology so now people can come in, shop online from one of our self-service kiosks, or sit down with a health plan expert to learn more about their options and what they mean.”
Hawaii consumers who want to buy a health plan through Hawaii’s online health insurance marketplace, the Hawai‘i Health Connector, will also be able to get help at the HMSA Centers. HMSA is offering a wide variety of plans on the Hawai‘i Health Connector to meet a range of health care and financial needs. With more than 75 years of experience serving Hawaii residents, HMSA is confident it’ll have options for all shoppers.
“We’re proud to be participating in the efforts of Gov. Neil Abercrombie, the state insurance commissioner, and the Hawai‘i Health Connector to simplify the process of shopping for a health plan,” said Gold. “But we know there will still be people who want the comfort of having their questions answered face to face. We’re prepared to offer that.”
Caring for the people of Hawaii is our promise and our privilege. Working together with employers, partners, and physicians and other health care providers, we promote wellness; develop reliable, affordable health plans; and support members with clear, thoughtful guidance.
HMSA is the most experienced health plan in the state, covering more than half of Hawaii’s population. As a recognized leader, we embrace our responsibility to strengthen the health and well-being of our community.
Headquartered on Oahu with neighborhood centers and offices statewide to serve our members, HMSA is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.