The State of Hawaiꞌi has met a major milestone in ensuring that all the people of Hawai'i have access to high-quality healthcare and insurance coverage.
Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced that the state has selected a healthcare benefits package that will outline the minimum array of benefits insurers must provide for years 2014 and 2015, as elements of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) are implemented.
"Hawai'i is continuing to be a leader in this nationwide healthcare transition, and we are working proactively to ensure that all Hawai'i residents will have access to high-quality care and insurance coverage in a seamless, economically sustainable system," said Governor Abercrombie. "The selected package provides the "10 commandments' of health benefits required by the federal government in the implementation of the ACA. By selecting this package, we are ensuring that Hawai'i has a say in how the ACA will affect current and future generations in our state."
Hawai'i was required to select a single benchmark package by September 30, outlining benefits for qualified health plans sold in the Hawai'i health insurance exchange, otherwise known as the Hawai'i Health Connector. The package must include the "Essential Health Benefits" designed by the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
The HMSA Preferred Provider Plan 2010 (PPO) was identified as providing the widest array of benefits.
"While this is an important step forward for our state's health care goals, few people with insurance now will experience much, if any, change in coverage," said Beth Giesting, Hawai'i's Healthcare Transformation Coordinator. "This is because the difference between the benefits covered by various health plans in our market and the benchmark package is not very great.
"In Hawai'i, we already have our Prepaid Health Care Act, which enables a vast majority of residents to be insured. But with the Affordable Care Act as our ally, we are making progress in providing solutions for Hawai'i's 83,000 uninsured adults and improving healthcare for everyone."
The list of federally mandated Essential Health Benefits, which are included in the state-selected benchmark package, are:
Ambulatory patient services
Maternity and newborn care
Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
Preventative and wellness services and chronic disease management
Pediatric services, including oral and vision care