|By Kristen Consillio, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Kissel, 64, former president and chief executive officer of HawaiiGas, will take over at the Connector on
Kissel said his first priority is to put a strategic plan in place after listening to stakeholders, customers and exchange officials. He said he must learn more about the Connector's financial situation before implementing a plan for the enterprise.
The organization, created by
The federal funds are only for use in building the Connector, not for day-to-day operations. Connector officials have said they need at least
"You've got to manage costs and deliver value," Kissel said.
The Connector was hoping it would earn
The exchange attracted just two medical insurers --
Some gubernatorial candidates critical of the Connector contend the state should get out of running the health exchange altogether and consider letting the federal government take over. But Kissel said federal programs charge higher premiums for health insurance than
"The costs are likely to rise," Kissel said. "That means more money coming out of
Kissel is the nonprofit group's third executive director in a year since it fumbled the start of the exchange last October.
"I believe that everyone deserves to have health insurance coverage, and the Hawaii Health Connector is a highly viable resource for reasonably priced, high-quality health care," Kissel said in a press release.
In August, the state's dominant health plan, HMSA, pulled out of the exchange for small businesses, leaving just one insurance company, Kaiser, for employers to select.
Kissel took an early retirement from HawaiiGas in
He came to
"I'm at a place in my career where I can really give back to the community and do something that will make a difference in people's lives," Kissel said. "I am looking forward to hitting the ground running to prepare for open enrollment, which starts Nov. 15."
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