State agency: Health exchange owes us $4.9M


HONOLULU — Department of Human Services officials tell Hawaii lawmakers the agency may seek about $4.9 million from the Legislature next year to cover money owed by the state’s troubled health insurance exchange.

Director Patricia McManaman told state senators during a hearing Wednesday that the department would probably pay back the state if it asks for the funds.

Lawmakers also heard from Tom Matsuda, the head of the Hawaii Health Connector. He said the exchange needs about $4.7 million next year and up to $9 million the year after to be financially viable.

Some senators expressed frustration over lack of clarity about the Hawaii Health Connector’s budget and expenses.

Lawmakers are considering giving the exchange taxpayer money or charging insurers a fee to support the exchange.