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Hawaii insurance commish approves HMSA rate hike

The Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) -- Hawaii's insurance commissioner has approved a rate increase for certain health care plans for small businesses administered by the Hawaii Medical Service Association.

The Insurance Division of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs says the associations community rated group plans will see a rate increase of 6.8 percent. The plans cover small businesses that employ fewer than 100 workers. Officials say about 118,000 Hawaii residents will see increases.

The division says the association requested a higher rate hike of 8.6 percent.

Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito says the biggest issue for the rates is that costs are outpacing inflation and wages. Officials say fees associated with President Barack Obama's health care overhaul account for 2 percentage points of the rate increase.

The new rate takes effect July 1.