DHS Emergency Rules Maintain Benefits for Noncitizens, including COFA Residents

Posted on Nov 6, 2014 in News

Emergency Rules Take Effect Following  U.S. Supreme Court Action in Korab v. McManaman

The Department of Human Services (DHS) Director, Patricia McManaman announced that Governor Abercrombie approved and signed temporary emergency rules that maintain the status quo for receipt of state-funded medical assistance benefits by noncitizens, including citizens of the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (COFA residents). The temporary emergency rules have been filed with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor and shall remain in effect for up to 120 days. The rules can be reviewed in full on the DHS website at http://humanservices.hawaii.gov/admin-rules-2/.

Director McManaman stated that “because access to healthcare is such an important issue and affects so many of Hawaii’s residents, I am taking the opportunity to clearly state the facts.”

  • Noncitizen children and pregnant women receive Medicaid benefits, and therefore they are not and never have been the subject of the Korab lawsuit, and they are not and never have been at risk of losing their Medicaid benefits.
  • Noncitizen aged, blind or disabled individuals currently receiving state-funded medical assistance will continue to receive the same benefits without interruption.
  • Under the emergency rules, noncitizens who are not aged, blind or disabled and who are currently receiving state-funded medical assistance will continue to receive this assistance through February 28, 2015.
  • To avoid a gap in coverage and obtain health insurance beginning March 1, 2015, noncitizens who are not aged, blind or disabled and who are currently receiving state-funded medical assistance will be required to choose a health plan through the Hawaii Health Connector by February 15, 2015. To facilitate this process, DHS will transfer eligibility information to the Connector.
  • Certain low income noncitizens enrolled in a health plan through the Connector may receive state-funded premium assistance.
  • DHS has drafted proposed administrative rules to replace the temporary emergency rules and will hold a public hearing, as required by law, to ensure that the public has the opportunity to review and comment on the rules.
  • Individuals affected by the temporary emergency rules and the proposed administrative rules will receive written notices that provide more detailed information.

“My intent has always been to ensure that all of Hawaii’s needy residents receive healthcare benefits,” says Director McManaman. “The emergency rules and the proposed administrative rules will do this.” Director McManaman anticipates a substantial annual savings after the administrative rules are adopted.

Director McManaman and the Med-QUEST Division Administrator, Kenneth Fink, M.D., will hold a press conference on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014 at 10:15 a.m. on the steps of the Liliuokalani Building to respond to additional questions.

For background on COFA residents and health care assistance in Hawaii click here.

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Media Contact:
Kayla Rosenfeld
Public Information Officer
586-4892; krosenfeld@dhs.hawaii.gov
www.humanservices.hawaii.gov