Hawaii Health Insurance
Under the Affordable Care Act, Hawaiians can say “aloha” to a new state health insurance marketplace, which will allow residents to set up an account, find out if they qualify for income assistance and apply for a new health plan. Marketplace plans must conform to ACA standards, but private insurance companies sell the plans. The official portal to this marketplace is called Hawaii Health Connector, and you can find it at HawaiiHealthConnector.com.
Additionally, Hawaii expanded Medicaid eligibility in order to close the coverage gap between those who made too little income to qualify for tax credits and too much to qualify for programs such as Medicaid. In the past, only specific groups of people could qualify for Medicaid, such as children and parents with very low income.
Do you qualify for a Hawaii health insurance subsidy?
According to a January 2014 Kaiser Family Foundation fact sheet, the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion means about 74 percent of formerly uninsured and non-elderly adults in the state qualify for some sort of financial assistance to help them access Hawaii health insurance.
Here’s what to know about health insurance and federal financial assistance.
- Generally, subsidies will be based on 2013 poverty level limits, and Medicare and CHIP qualification will be based on 2014 limits.
- If you don’t have access to other affordable medical benefits and earn between 100 and 400 percent of the poverty level, you might qualify for a tax credit. This would come in the form of a subsidy, which will be directly applied to premiums for plans purchased on the marketplace. In Hawaii for 2014, that falls between $13,230 and $52,920 for an individual and between $27,090 and $108,360 for a family of four.
- Hawaii Medicaid has been expanded to cover nearly all nonelderly adults with incomes lower than 138 percent of the poverty level — or about $37,385 for a family of four and $18,260 for an individual in Hawaii.
- Children in families with incomes up to 313 percent of the poverty level — about $85,800 in Hawaii — may qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
- Undocumented immigrants still do not qualify for Medicaid, and eligibility is very restricted even for documented immigrants.
How you can learn more about Hawaii health reform
Simply set up an account at HawaiiHealthConnector.com and follow the steps to enroll. You will need to answer a series of questions about your family income and family size, and the system uses your answers to determine your family’s eligibility for subsidies, marketplace health insurance plans, Medicaid or CHIP.
You will be directed to the appropriate form to apply for health insurance benefits. You can enroll in a health insurance plan online, but you will contact the insurer in order to make payment arrangements.
You don’t need to remember a lot of rules to figure out how health reform impacts you and your family.
Does the Affordable Care Act impact people with higher incomes or existing medical plans?
Even if you make too much money to qualify for assistance, you can still sign up for Hawaii health insurance on the marketplace. You can browse plans and decide if one of these plans provides you with better benefits at an affordable price.
If you already have affordable health insurance from an employer or other source, you generally won’t qualify for a subsidy.
Major Hawaiian health insurers with marketplace plans
- Kaiser Permanente of HI
- Hawaii Medical Service Association (Affiliate of Blue Cross and Blue Shield)
Hawaii health and coverage statistics
Hawaii population (2013): 1,404,054
Population 65 and older (2012): 15.1 percent
Life expectancy (2010): 81.3 years
Number of Medicaid beneficiaries (2012): 242,600
Number of Medicare beneficiaries (2012): 191,200
Estimated number of uninsured residents (2012): 104,400
Overall state health ranking: 1
Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation, U.S. Census Bureau, America’s Health Rankings 2014 report.
Hawaii health insurance resources
Hawaii State Department of Health: http://health.hawaii.gov/
Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (Insurance): http://cca.hawaii.gov/ins/
Elderly Affairs: http://www.elderlyaffairs.com/