May 4, 2006
Personal responsibility encouraged at HMSA membership meeting
Senior Vice President
The Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA) today held its annual membership meeting
at the Ala Moana Hotel. In addition to a review of 2005 accomplishments and financial
results, Robert P. Hiam, HMSA president and CEO, encouraged attendees to engage
in regular physical activity to promote good health. A discussion of personal responsibility
and a review of the HMSA go Campaign took center stage.
In his remarks, Hiam highlighted the problems of obesity and inactivity in Hawaii.
"Our state remains the nation’s leader in obesity rates, especially among
youth," said Hiam. "The link between obesity and inactivity is indisputable.
It’s even been said that today’s young people are the most inactive
generation in America’s history."
Hiam added that serious health risks are associated with obesity, including asthma,
diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and orthopedic complications. There
are financial consequences as well, such as higher health care costs. "The
cost of obesity-related conditions in Hawaii is estimated to be nearly $300 million
per year," said Hiam.
Hiam called on HMSA members and the community to make a commitment to a healthier
lifestyle, one that features regular physical activity. He encouraged them to take
personal responsibility for their health, and work on making positive lifestyle
HMSA go Campaign in 2005
To help people get up, get out and get active, HMSA launched its statewide
go Campaign in April 2005 with an activity festival for more than
3,000 people at Les Murakami Stadium. The campaign is still going strong, and features
TV, radio and print messages focusing on the importance of regular physical activity.
HMSA introduced several new programs last year to reach different segments of the
community. These activity programs target kids, teens, adults and seniors.
Spaz’s go Challenge is a program created by HMSA
that features local television personality Kutmaster Spaz. Spaz takes his entertaining
and motivating teen challenge to shopping malls and high schools around the state
to share positive messages about the benefits of an active, healthy lifestyle.
The HMSA Kaimana Awards & Scholarship Program was created to recognize high
school students and their schools for their active involvement in athletics, good
sportsmanship, community service, and academics.
HMSA’s Weight Watchers pilot program for adults was developed to help encourage
eligible members who were ready to commit to increasing their activity level and
improving their nutrition. The pilot program ran through 2005, and offered a 12-week
membership to Weight Watchers at no cost to the member.
HMSA’s Keep going program was created to help seniors
increase their activity level and improve strength, flexibility and stamina. Free
community workshops teach seniors the health benefits of increased activity and
the techniques to be active at any age.
Another element of the HMSA go Campaign is its interactive
web site at www.HMSA.com/go. The
site features information on physical activity, and includes a "calorie burn
off" matrix that shows how much and what kind of physical activity a person
needs (based on their body weight) to burn off calories for a variety of snack foods.
The site also has a stretching guide, safety tips, a statewide community calendar
of health classes and activities, and more.
At today’s meeting, HMSA reported on a variety of accomplishments, including:
- HMSA helped administer health plans for more than 16,000 employer groups in the
- HMSA’s network of providers contained more than 4,100 participating physicians,
dentists, hospitals, pharmacies, and other health care providers.
- HMSA processed 17.6 million claims in 2005. On average, HMSA processed over 70,000
claims every business day of the year.
- HMSA’s Care Connection disease management program provided support to over
100,000 members with serious health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease
and kidney disease.
- HMSA member satisfaction remained very high in 2005. According to its annual membership
survey, 96 percent of members surveyed indicated they would choose their health
This year’s membership meeting was presided over by Chairman of the Board
Roger J. Wall, executive vice president and CFO of Foodland Super Market, Ltd. Wall
shared the podium with Hiam and HMSA Executive Vice President and Chief Financial
Officer Steve Van Ribbink. About 400 HMSA members attended the meeting.
HMSA is a nonprofit, mutual benefit association founded in Hawaii in 1938. It is
governed by a community board of directors that serves without compensation and
includes representatives from health care, business, labor, government, education,
clergy, and the community at large. It is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross
and Blue Shield Association. Nationally, HMSA and 38 other Blue Cross and Blue Shield
plans provide worldwide coverage to more than 93 million members.