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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lingle: Workers' health fund at risk of going broke

By Mark Niesse
Associated Press

The fund that pays for Hawaii government employee health coverage will soon run out of money unless premiums are increased or benefits are reduced.

That's the message from Gov. Linda Lingle in a letter Tuesday to legislative leaders urging them to take action before this year's session ends in three weeks.

The Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund covers 161,000 employees, retirees and dependents.

But it is losing more than $1 million a month, and it wouldn't be able to pay doctors for medical bills if it runs out of money.

A consultant for the EUTF has recommended a 26 percent increase in premiums starting July 1. EUTF trustees haven't agreed to that kind of increase after premiums went up 24 percent last year.