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Posted: Monday, February 24th, 2014 1:17 PM HST

Hawaii health exchange targets young adults

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) Hawaii's online health insurance exchange hopes to boost enrollment by targeting younger adults.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports the Hawaii Health Connector is making an aggressive push this weekend aimed at so-called invincibles, those who see insurance as an unnecessary expense.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, one-third of Hawaii's enrollees were between the ages of 55 and 64, while 14 percent were between the ages of 26 and 34.

The enrollment drive comes after a national study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed Hawaii with the lowest number of sign-ups under President Barack Obama's federal health care overhaul.

Part of the reason for Hawaii's small number of enrollments is an already low number of uninsured people because of a state law that requires employers to provide medical coverage for full-time workers. The Connector's interim executive director, Tom Matsuda, says many in Hawaii have opted to keep their current health plan, even if they are eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The "Weekend of Action" includes 21 outreach events on various islands. An enrollment drive at the University of Hawaii at Manoa is geared toward college students, especially those who are no longer covered under their parents' health plans.

The state's online health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act has suffered from problems, including a two-week-late launch and technical glitches.

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