* Hawaii WILL have its own health insurance exchange.
* Hawaii WILL expand Medicaid under the guidelines of the Affordable Care Act.
Hawaii’s Health Insurance Exchange
Hawaii was one of the first states to agree to set up its own health insurance marketplace in response to the ACA. The site is called Hawaii Health Connector and it will open in October 2013 and hopes to make insurance more affordable and accessible to those who do not have any now.
The Hawaii exchange will offer health care insurance to both individuals and small businesses. The state has received more than 77 million federal dollars to set up the exchange. Prior to the ACA, Hawaii passed the Prepaid Health Care Act of 1975 which allowed most people to get health insurance through their employers. It is hoped even more people will be able to get insurance through the new Hawaii Health Connector exchange.
As of August 3, 2013 only two insurance companies are planning to offer plans: Hawaii Medical Service Association and Kaiser Permanente Hawaii. All other insurance providers are for profit companies that have to pay high premium taxes and so they have decided not to participate. With only two insurers, competition is lacking and people in Hawaii may see their plan costs go up because of that.
On August 5th the Hawaii Health Connector granted about $6.7 million dollars to 34 community organizations who are tasked with getting the word out about ObamaCare. The money will go towards a massive informational outreach program and it will pay for more than 190 assisters to talk directly to the people and help them with their health care insurance options under the Affordable Care Act.
Hawaii Says “Yes” To Expanded Medicaid
Part of the Affordable Care Act that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled voluntary, Medicaid expansion is being left up to each state to decide. Hawaii is going forward with the expansion so that more low income state citizens can get health insurance coverage.
Because Medicaid is such a drain on existing Hawaii state funds already, they will end up saving money in the long run as more of the financial burden will switch from the state government to the federal government. Hawaii is one of the few states where it is clearly to their financial benefit to expand Medicaid.