The state auditor says Hawaii Health Connector “wasted and abused” millions of dollars in public funds on an IT contractor.

In a report released this week, the auditor said the Connector awarded Mansha Consulting LLC $21.6 million in contracts, making Mansha its second-highest paid contractor.

The auditor said the Connector awarded multi-million dollar contracts based on personal recommendations instead of taking steps to ensure it selected the most qualified vendor at the best price.

The Louisiana Department of Insurance has taken over Metairie-based Louisiana Health Cooperative Inc., a nonprofit health insurance company created with $66 million in federal loans.

District Judge Donald Johnson issued an order Tuesday granting the department’s request to place the co-op into rehabilitation. The order allows Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon to take possession and control of the failed insurer. The department’s regulators have been stationed at the co-op since July 29.

The soaring costs of insuring the state’s poorest residents drove health care spending in Massachusetts up 4.8 percent last year, double the rate of growth in 2013, dealing a setback to the state’s efforts to contain medical costs.

The increase far exceeds inflation, which was 1.6 percent last year, and blows past a state goal of holding health care spending growth to 3.6 percent annually, according to a report to be issued Wednesday by the state Center for Health Information and Analysis.

Florida Healthy Kids Corporation is blaming President Obama’s health care law after notifying parents that health insurance premiums will increase for thousands of kids starting next month, jumping from $140 to as high as $284.

Healthy Kids, which offers insurance options where parents can pay full-price or get subsidized coverage depending on eligibility, said the increases will affect the families of nearly 34,749 children in the full-pay program. That’s about 19 percent of the organization’s 178,873 enrollees.

The state of Hawaii is likely to extend the operations of the Hawaii Health Connector through October 2016 for $3.3 million, the health insurance exchange’s officials announced Friday at its board of directors meeting.
Hawaii’s state-based insurance marketplace also received confirmation Thursday that the federal government would chip in a $2.8 million grant to support “marketplace assister organizations” — the Connector’s nonprofit partners that assist the community in signing up for health insurance.

The promise of free money is hard to turn down, and so when Obamacare offered the states a cheap way of expanding Medicaid, Gov. Rick Snyder found it hard to resist. Yet just a year into Michigan’s expansion, it’s not such a bargain.

In its mission to make sure more Americans have health insurance, the Affordable Care Act depended on states to expand their Medicaid programs to individuals with incomes under 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

No. Take more. Really.
While most states have been pushing health insurers to curb proposed price increases, Florida is telling some of them they can charge more.
The state on Wednesday approved an average premium increase of 9.5 percent for Affordable Care Act plans sold to individuals for next year. Insurers had asked to boost rates 8.6 percent on average.

Health insurers in Massachusetts will boost rates more than 6 percent for small businesses and individuals in 2016, a troubling sign that costs are once again accelerating.

The increase, approved by the state Division of Insurance last week, is more than double the rise in premiums at the beginning of this year and triple the rise in 2014.

The new rates will affect about 300,000 people who buy health insurance on their own or work for small businesses with 50 or fewer employees and will renew plans in January.

New York State has in many ways been a showcase for things that have gone right with Obamacare. The rollout of the state-run health insurance exchange went relatively smoothly and registered patients at a clip well ahead of the national average. Supporters say the exchange’s 2.1 million enrollees are proof positive that the law is increasing consumer choice and fostering a competitive marketplace.

Floridians who purchase individual health insurance plans under Obamacare will see their premiums rise by an average of 9.5 percent next year, the state Office of Insurance Regulation said Wednesday.