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Hawaii approves higher rates for HMSA, Kaiser



HONOLULU (AP) State insurance officials have approved rate increases for Hawaii Medical Service Association and Kaiser Permanente Hawaii health plans that were expected to be canceled as President Barack Obama's federal health insurance overhaul takes effect. 

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Tuesday the state Insurance Division approved increases of 9.2 percent for 11,000 individual plans and 5 percent for 26,300 small business plans administered by Kaiser. HMSA will be allowed to increase rates on 14,300 individual plans by 7.5 percent. HMSA increased small business rates by 6.8 percent for 118,000 members earlier this year. 

Insurers say the increases are necessary to cover higher medical expenses, taxes and fees anticipated under the Affordable Care Act. 

Hawaii asked insurers to extend the plans after the Obama administration reversed policy that would have canceled them.

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