Hawaii insurance requirement raises eyebrows

Despite criticism from providers, who fear that many patients won't take action, the state of Hawaii has instituted a policy under which enrollees in its Quest health insurance program must re-enroll to be included in managed care plans. Right now, Quest's 165,000 low-income enrollees can participate in Hawaii Medical Association, AlohaCare, Kaiser Permanente and Summerlin managed care plans. However, the new policy taking effect as of April 1 would require them to select a specific health plan within 60 days or be automatically assigned a plan by state administrators. The state says the goal is to increase competition among insurers, boosting their motive to provide extra services to beneficiaries. Providers have sharply criticized the initiative, however, arguing that Quest's stressed and often dislocated population may not receive enrollment packets, or won't respond when they get the packets. These patients could find themselves disenrolled from their existing plan and not know it, cutting themselves off from their existing primary care relationship, critics say.

To learn more about the managed care initiative:
- read this Pacific Business News article