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State briefs for March 2

Preschool subsidy app period opens

HONOLULU (AP) — Qualifying families can begin applying for state subsidies to help pay for tuition at licensed Hawaii preschools.

The state Department of Human Services said it began accepting applications for its Preschool Open Doors program Saturday. The application period ends April 30.

Subsidies are given to low- and moderate-income families who need financial help sending children to preschool.

Applications can be found online at .

HMSA reports loss, cites health care cost increase

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii’s largest health plan is reporting a $44.4 million net loss for last year.

The Hawaii Medical Service Association on Saturday attributed the loss to Hawaii’s aging population, an increase in health care costs and fees associated with the Affordable Care Act.

HMSA said it offset the losses with strong investment earnings of more than $57 million, a tax benefit and reserves.

The health plan maintains a reserve of nearly $400 million or about $540 per member.

HMSA said it spent $2.5 billion on health care services for its members last year.

For every dollar HMSA collected in health plan premiums, more than 95 cents went to paying doctors, hospitals, pharmacists and other health care professionals for member health benefits.

Bill to fine lying at bus stops passes

HONOLULU (AP) — Lying down and obstructing a bus stop would become a form of disorderly conduct under a bill passed by the Hawaii House of Representatives.

The misdemeanor could result in a $50 fine.

The measure, HB 2409, is aimed at keeping bus stops clear for travelers. The House passed the bill 39-11 Thursday, sending it to the Senate for a vote.

1-year sentence for Laie woman

HONOLULU (AP) — The wife of a former Oahu prison guard was sentenced to a year in prison for bankruptcy fraud.

Michelle Malufau was sentenced Thursday to 12 months and one day in federal prison. A jury found her guilty in November of making false statements on documents and lying under oath in a 2011 bankruptcy proceeding.

Prosecutors said the Laie woman concealed assets, including a North Sore Oahu home, a bank account and rental income while clearing more than $1 million of debt by filing for bankruptcy.


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