Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Feds give Hawaii $125.7M for roads, health insurers ailing, Maui sewage spill from tsunami still lingers, bank robbers active on Oahu, businesses to get tax relief, other top news from Hawaii

Hawaii received $125.7 million of the $26.6 billion allotted nationwide for highways under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the White House announced yesterday.

Hawaii Medical Service Association, reeling from a $64.4 million loss in 2009—its worst annual loss ever—is requesting an average 7.8 percent small-business rate increase for its most popular health plan and said it is making a fundamental change in the way it reimburses its medical providers.

The Hawaii Medical Service Association plans to raise premiums by an average of 7.8 percent for roughly 11,000 small businesses that buy health insurance for their employees.

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Hawaii sustained a $7 million loss in the fourth quarter amid declining revenue as more members lost their jobs and enrolled in the state's Quest program for low-income individuals.

The robbery of a Central Pacific Bank branch in Makiki yesterday makes the seventh bank heist of the year, nearly double the number reported at the same time last year.
It was another cool, but noisy night of high winds.

Monday's monthly siren test also tested emergency sirens that reportedly didn't fire on Saturday.

Relief is on its way for thousands of Hawaii employers now facing close to a 1000 percent increase in their unemployment insurance taxes.

Developer DW Aina Lea has about a month left to complete 16 affordable housing units at the Aina Lea project in South Kohala.

A day after a small tsunami generated by a giant earthquake in Chile just kissed Hawaii's shores, Maui county officials were still advising the public to stay out of some ocean areas because of sewage spills.

The Point at Po‘ipu’s timeshare management company said Monday that complaints about rising maintenance fees are based on a “fundamental misunderstanding” of the business, promising a lawsuit against the most vociferous owners within a week.