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LETTER: ‘It’s Not Just Your Money They’re Taking, It’s Your Health’

Posted March 17, 2017, 02:44 PM HST
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At a time when Hawai‘i is facing a growing shortage of healthcare providers, the insurance company that controls the majority of health insurance in Hawai‘i doesn’t feel that it is important to keep the providers we have.

As your insurance premiums have continued to go up every year, reimbursement for primary care providers has actually decreased over the past six years, through complex formulations, and often unattainable benchmarks that frequently do not meet current national standards for healthcare.

Our healthcare providers are getting reimbursed less than the price of a single meal at a decent restaurant.

They are showing us what they think our health is worth.

And if you’re retired, during your golden years, when medical costs can quickly become overwhelming, they think it is worth even less.

Yes, I am a local braddah. I am a nurse practitioner in Hilo, who is kanaka maoli, born and raised here, who proudly served in the U.S. Navy, who worked for 10 years as a registered nurse in this state, who took a pay cut to fill the most pressing need in healthcare in our ‘āina—primary care.

And now I am losing my job, but not because I am not a great primary care provider and not because I worked in a practice that was mismanaged, but because the major insurer in our state does not think that you are worth it.

My patients are saddened when I tell them that I will no longer be their primary care provider.

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I have been the person who has encouraged them as they improved their blood pressure, the cheerleader who helped them to control their diabetes, the shoulder they could cry on when they were facing a terrible disease.

But don’t be sad; insurance executives won’t have to lose any sleep over how they are stealing from kama‘āina to line their own pockets.

As you struggle to pay your rising insurance premiums, you may not be able to find a primary care provider.

It is not just your money they are taking, it is your health.

I wonder if this how they intend to accomplish their 2020 vision plan “to create a sustainable community that advances the health and well-being goals of consumers, providers, employees, communities and government.”

Malama pono. It’s all you have.

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