The Department of Human Services and the Affordable Care Act
The Department of Human Services (DHS) is committed to implementing provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and expanding access to affordable health insurance for Hawai‘i’s residents. The ACA gives states the primary responsibility for implementing most of the changes required under the Act. As it relates to ACA, one key function of DHS will be to assure access to Medicaid coverage through DHS’ new electronic eligibility system, beginning in 2014.
On behalf of The Hawaii Health Connector, the State’s health insurance exchange (or marketplace), the new DHS eligibility system also will determine eligibility for advance premium tax credits and cost share reductions. These items will be applied towards the purchase of individual policies under ACA, and partially offset premium costs. Tax credits and cost share reductions make the health plans more affordable for modest-income individuals purchasing insurance through The Connector, beginning in 2014.
When key parts of the health care law take effect in 2014, there will be a new way for individuals, families and small businesses to get health insurance. Whether you’re uninsured, or just want to explore new options, the Marketplace will give you more choice and control over your health insurance options. The Marketplace is designed to help you find health insurance that fits your budget, with less hassle. Watch this video to learn about the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act
Medicaid is a federal/state partnership with shared authority and financing. The program covers nearly 50 million low-income Americans, including more than 285,000 Hawai‘i residents. States must meet minimum federal requirements such as covering families with children and offering certain benefits. States also may provide optional expanded coverage.
With the ACA Medicaid expansion beginning in 2014, any adult under 65 years of age with qualified residency or citizenship and income under 133% federal poverty level (FPL), will be eligible for Medicaid irrespective of their assets. Fortunately, Hawai‘i’s income standards already align with ACA.
Regulations and guidance are used to implement many of the ACA provisions that address both private and public health insurance. There will be a few eligibility changes under Affordable Care Act.
Also beginning in 2014, the ACA requires states to provide Medicaid coverage for former foster youth who are under age 26. Hawai’i is seeking federal approval to begin covering this group of former foster youth a year early, in 2013.
For more information about ACA implementation in Hawaii, visit http://affordablecareact.hawaii.gov/
The Kauhale On-Line Eligibility Assistance System (KOLEA) Newsletter