State roundup for June 1
HMSA’s rate hike approved
HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii’s insurance commissioner has approved a smaller rate increase than what was requested by the state’s largest health insurer.
Commissioner Gordon Ito announced Friday that his office approved an 8.9 percent increase in premiums for Hawaii Medical Service Association.
The insurance company had asked for an average premium rate increase of 13.1 percent across plans. Ito’s office said about 5 percent of the increase is for medical costs and 4 percent is for fees related to the federal health care overhaul.
Elisa Yadao of Hawaii Medical Services Association said the company based its request on informed calculations about future costs. She said changes in the Affordable Care Act are creating uncertainty.
Ito said the state needs to work aggressively to reduce health care costs so premiums don’t rise every year.
Nine coqui are caught on Oahu
HONOLULU (AP) — The state Department of Agriculture said nine coqui frogs were captured on Oahu this month.
Several of the invasive frogs were found at plant nurseries in Waimanalo and Kaneohe. Two others were found in the same residence in Kalihi where officials captured one coqui last month.
In Waipahu, department officials captured one after a resident used her cellphone to record its mating call. This made it easier for authorities to confirm the frog was a coqui.
Coqui frogs reproduce quickly in Hawaii because they don’t have natural predators here.
Many have been showing up on Oahu after hitchhiking their way in cargo from the Big Island.
Guard soldier dies on duty
WAHIAWA, Oahu (AP) — A Hawaii Army National Guard soldier died on duty while taking a physical fitness test.
Officials said the full-time National Guard soldier fainted Friday while taking the Army physical fitness test at Schofield Barracks.
He was taken to Wahiawa General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The name of the man in his 30s wasn’t immediately released. The cause of death is unknown.
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