All states including Hawaii were offered the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion, which aims to keep low income Americans in good health by providing them with medical assistance benefits. Since the early 2010s, states have had the option to accept the ACA Medicaid expansion, associated guidelines and funding that would increase Medicaid enrollment eligibility. If enacted, the expansion of Medicaid could be able to help millions of low-income Americans. Residents of Hawaii may have questions such as, “What is the Obamacare Medicaid expansion?” or “Will the expansion of Medicaid change my current benefits?” when they first hear about the ACA program. Before the Affordable Care Act Medicaid eligibility standards are put in place, officials required applicants to list several factors on the application before being able to receive benefits. The Affordable Care Act Medicaid application only looks at the applicant’s income as the sole deciding factor. To learn if the state accepted the expansion and to get Obamacare Medicaid expansion details for Hawaii, make sure to read the rest of the sections on this page.
Learn About the ACA Medicaid Expansion in Hawaii
Even though Hawaii and other states were offered the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid, lawmakers were not required to accept the program. Only 31 states and Washington D.C. decided to move forward with the expansion of Medicaid, including Hawaii. While the former rules consider finances, the new guidelines set specific income limits for Medicaid enrollment. Most states that implemented the Medicaid expansion plan will allow those with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line to be enrolled.
While the state government of Hawaii is known to prioritize health care and healthy living, lawmakers took the expansion seriously and did not rush into the decision. State officials across the nation were concerns with the ACA Medicaid expansion cost to states as each would have to provide some funding to keep the Medicaid expansion plan functioning. Even though a large amount of federal funds are used for the expansion, Medicaid is a jointly funded program and states will have some expenses that increase each year as the federal government tapers funding. Hawaii officials went forward with the Obamacare Medicaid expansion program as they felt the costs were worth the benefits of the program.
For more information about the expansion of Medicaid, download our detailed guide.
What does choosing the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion mean for Hawaii?
The new Hawaii Affordable Care Act Medicaid eligibility requirements will have the largest effect on the state. The HI Obamacare Medicaid expansion loosens and simplifies the program criteria for Medicaid making it so income only is factor that determines if someone can qualify for the program. Prior to the new rules, beneficiaries needed to be part of a qualifying group, such as being blind or having a disability. In Hawaii, those who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level can receive benefits after applying for Medicaid. This largely benefits childfree adults between the 19 and 64 years of age, as they were not able to get Medicaid benefits before the expansion. It also makes it easier for some families to get coverage. The Obamacare Medicaid expansion details also allow anyone who was raised in foster care to be on Medicaid benefits until 26 years of age.
Both of these initiatives largely decrease the uninsured rate with the uninsured population dropping by 50 percent a few years after the expansion was enacted in Hawaii. With more people applying for ACA Medicaid, more Hawaii residents are able to get the medical care they need without worrying about the high cost of health care. This will keep many Hawaii residents in good health for longer. In general, the Obamacare expansion has helped cut down on unpaid hospital bills across the country.
Most states will be keeping the ACA Medicaid expansion program in place until the early 2020s. Lawmakers will then reconsider the ACA Medicaid expansion cost to states and either decide to keep the program as is or modify it. There currently are no plans to change the Medicaid program in Hawaii.
Will the ACA Medicaid Expansion allow me to enroll in Medicaid?
All Hawaii residents may submit an Affordable Care Act Medicaid application if they need medical benefits and feel they meet the requirements of the Medicaid program. However, applicants should be aware that submitting an ACA Medicaid application is not a guarantee of enrollment or of obtaining benefits. While the expansion mainly effects adults without children, people in other demographics can still apply for Medicaid.
Note: If an applicant is denied Medicaid benefits from the state of Hawaii, there may be steps he or she can take to still receive medical assistance. Programs like Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are not a part of Medicaid and are open to those who cannot apply for Medicaid.
Download our complimentary guide to learn more about the requirements of the Medicaid program.