Hawaii Ending Universal Child Health Care

Hawaii is dropping the only state universal child health care program in the country just seven months after it launched…

…State officials said Thursday they will stop giving health coverage to the 2,000 children enrolled by Nov. 1, but private partner Hawaii Medical Service Association will pay to extend their coverage through the end of the year without government support…

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HMSA version:

The Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA) today announced it will continue to provide the HMSA Keiki Care Plan at no cost to parents through the end of the year. HMSA and the state had been sharing the cost of the plan’s monthly dues since April 2008. Yesterday, the state notified HMSA it was withdrawing its funding for the plan, effective Nov. 1.

“We’re disappointed in the state’s decision, but we feel we have an obligation to the children and their families,” said HMSA Senior Vice President Cliff Cisco. “Parents with children currently enrolled in the HMSA Keiki Care Plan can rest assured that we will continue the plan without changes at least through the end of the year.”

HMSA will be meeting with its community board of directors next week to discuss the issue and seek recommendations on the future of the plan. “If there are going to be changes to the plan for 2009, we will share that information with parents and the public as soon as we can,” said Cisco.

There are currently 2,000 children enrolled in the HMSA Keiki Care Plan, a plan that was created for children in Hawaii who had no health coverage for six months or more and were ineligible for any other state or federal health program. HMSA has been funding the plan with money from the HMSA reserve, not member and employer dues.

HMSA is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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