Plan to Downsize Hawaii Medicaid Benefits Moves Forward

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Gov. Abercrombie

BY MIRIAM LANDRU – Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the Hawaii State Department of Human Services held a statewide community forum at Queen’s Conference Center auditorium on Tuesday, May 10, to review how the state’s Medicaid budget will impact beneficiaries. Neighbor island residents participated via video conferencing.

Since June 2008, there was a 26% enrollment increase in people seeking Medicaid coverage in Hawaii. “As the economy worsens, there is a greater need for safety-net resources,” said Pat McManaman, DHS Director. However, because of the weak economy, the state is facing budget shortfalls this fiscal year and over the next two fiscal years.


State officials said new Medicaid plans give priority to the neediest and most vulnerable people in our community, including children, pregnant women, disabled and the elderly, and their plans will not be cut. However, starting January 1, 2012, a new benefit package will be introduced for non-disabled, non-pregnant adults less than 65 years in age.

The new system hopes to increase transparency, electronically verify information, increase timeliness, and interface with health insurance exchange.

A health care transformation coordinator position will be created by the state in order to oversee all changes. To submit comments and concerns to DHS, write to