The state is about to begin a discussion about starting the first universal coverage program in the country.
Hawaii is about to enter into a debate that will discuss whether or not the state should launch the first public long term care insurance program to exist in the country; a move that will likely have the nation’s insurance industry watching very closely.
This LTC insurance program would be the first time coverage of this nature was offered by a state.
The benefit for people covered by a universal long term care insurance program in Hawaii wouldn’t be huge, but the hope is that it would be large enough to make the necessary difference for people who need it. The amount being debated would be around $70 per day for a year. This would be available to everyone in Hawaii who is considered to be a long-term resident. That money would be sourced by way of a type of broad-based tax.
The public long term care insurance program measure is to be introduced by Hawaii Senator Roz Baker.
Senator Baker is the chair of the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health committee. This particular universal coverage issue isn’t anything new in the state. In fact, Hawaii has been making an effort to build universal LTC insurance since the 90s. It is particularly pertinent there as the state is seeing rapid growth in its aging population. The proportion of the population over the age of 75 is rising and he Hawaiian culture is one with a strong tradition of providing care for the elderly.
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There have been a number of other LTC insurance bills introduced by Senator Baker but until now, none of them have made it past initial debates due to concerns over the costs involved and the reluctance the legislature has to increase taxes in the state.
That said, many of the supporters of the long term care insurance measure feel that it will be the one that will make the difference. Still, they face a considerable challenge in trying to obtain support for a tax increase when it’s an election year, particularly in a heavily Republican state.