New HMSA center opens in Honolulu

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Hawaii consumers confused by all the changes surrounding health insurance can visit a new HMSA neighborhood center for answers.

The HMSA Center in Honolulu opened Tuesday 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 seminars, 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 at Honolulu is the first of three neighborhood centers planned for this year. Another location in Pearl City is scheduled to open in the Pearl City Gateway Center later this month.

A location in Hilo is expected to 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.

For now, the HMSA Center at Honolulu will be open from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, while the HMSA Center at 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.

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