In a report released Wednesday, the state auditor faulted Hawaii’s Department of Human Services in failing to implement the state’s online system for the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare.

DHS did not properly plan for or implement” the $155 million health care exchange, which is called the Kauhale On-Line Eligibility Application system, or KOLEA.

Poor planning and lack of effective leadership at the division level exacerbated already tight time constraints for developing KOLEA and forced the KOLEA Project Team to develop the eligibility and enrollment process while designing KOLEA,” the audit states.

The system was launched in on Oct. 1, 2013, in accordance with a federal deadline.

state audiotr pie chart of KOLEA expenses 2015

But because of lack of proper planning, “the department has been unable to achieve the ACA’s goals of creating a simple, real-time eligibility and enrollment process that uses electronic data to ease the paperwork burden on applicants and state agencies while expediting an eligibility determination.”

The audit adds that the IT eligibility and enrollment system “neither incorporates all ACA requirements nor meets the Med-QUEST Division’s business needs.”

It continues:

“For example, KOLEA does not perform electronic data matching to verify applicant’s income, and staff report that KOLEA is difficult to use and error prone. Consequently, the State could be paying benefits for people who are not eligible or improperly denying coverage for those who are eligible.”

According to the audit, DHS “appreciated most of our recommendations but disagreed with our two primary findings.”

But the department, it said, has agreed with all but one of the auditor’s recommendations.

About the Author