Over the coming weeks this blog will highlight a key feature of Medicaid and the individual states that administer Medicaid leading up the the program’s 50th anniversary (July 30th). Hopefully, you’ll learn some interesting facts about Medicaid and each of the 51 state programs.
Basics: Hawaii covers over 320,000 residents in their Medicaid program, Quest Hawai’i.
One of the many things that makes Hawai’i different from the rest of their country is their connection with some of the Pacific territories that the US government defends. In 1986, the Compact of Free Association (COFA) was passed that allows citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands to live and work in the United States in exchange for operation of a military base and defense space in the region. Many of these citizens seek medical treatment in Hawaii. Until 2009, the state offered and paid 100% of the funds to support Medicaid as a benefit. This benefit stopped for many adult beneficiaries (Hawaii still provides long-term care to aged, blind, and disabled COFA residents) because a 1996 law prevents migrants from receiving federal Medicaid funds.
Hawai’i legislators are working to restore funding for these adults that lack access to health insurance. More information about the proposed legislation can be found here: http://www.civilbeat.com/2015/05/hawaiis-congressional-delegation-wants-medicaid-for-cofa-migrants/