by Andrew Walden
Many of the 26 states which increased Medicaid eligibility from 100% of poverty to 138% are seeing a rush of Medicaid applications outstripping the trickle of non-Medicaid Obamacare Health Exchange enrollments by as much as 10-1.
Not Hawaii. For “parents and other adults” the Abercrombie administration actually reduced the Medicaid income eligibility cutoff from 200% of the poverty line to 133% effective January 1, 2012. According to the Hawaii Health Connector, as of October 18 only 440 applications had been completed online. Off-line applicants brought the total to 1,795. It is not clear how many of these are Medicaid applicants and how many are purchasing private insurance via the Health Connector.
In spite of Abercrombie’s cuts, new ACA-imposed rules will change Hawaii Medicaid eligibility in two important ways effective January 1, 2014:
- There will no longer be an asset test, opening up eligibility to homeowners and others with savings or investments but little income
- Medicaid eligibility will be based on MAGI (Modified Adjusted Gross Income) subject to new rules effectively bumping the income qualification cutoff up from 133% to 138% of poverty
Because the asset test is no longer a barrier to Medicaid, many previously ineligible retirees may be attempting to apply -- but they are facing the same difficulties as applicants on the private insurance exchange.
Here is the experience of one man from Kauai:
Tuesday October 29, 2013
People can't log in at https://medical.mybenefits.hawaii.gov/oaam_server/shiLoginPage.jsp.
I created an account around last Friday and I haven't been able to log in and fill out the form since then. A tech support lady with the website told me that some people can log in, but many can't. It appears to be a very big problem.
I created a second account today at the website listed above with one of my other email addresses and I still can't log in. I keep getting the message, "Sorry, the identification you entered was not recognized. Please try again." The website may be as bad as the federal healthcare website.
Wednesday October 30, 2013
I just tried to log into both of my accounts. I got the same error message on each: "Sorry, the identification you entered was not recognized. Please try again."
Thursday October 31, 2013
I just tried logging into both accounts and I got the same error message. What the site is is about Medicaid and applying if one qualifies. I was told by a Market Place Assister that there is no asset test beginning on January 1st, 2014. Because I don't have any income to speak of right now I have to check about my investments that I inherited in the last couple years when I know the criteria, namely, if they want to know what my realized gains or unrealized gains are. Apparently I qualify for Medicaid, even though I have quite a bit of assets---way more than most people have when they retire. I shouldn't qualify but I do. My reasoning is that I might as well apply and get it if I qualify. I think the Affordable Health Care Act should be completely repealed, but I'm kind of delighted that I probably qualify for Medicaid.
I have to see exactly what coverage there is with Medicaid. About two years ago I called HMSA and asked what their catastrophic health coverage plan cost. A man said they had one and that they called it that. I was told that it would be about $104 a month. The cheapest plan they have now is around $365. That an over 350% increase in the premiums. I'm sure Obamacare is the cause of that.
What's weird and unbelievable is that the law required them to include dental in the plans. They did. Sort of, but not really for everybody. The next to the cheapest plan, which costs about $365 a month, includes children's dental. That price came up after I put my age in the box at the top right and I'm over 50. Anyone that buys that plan that isn't a child won't have dental coverage.
Something else a lady at the medical.mybenefits.hawaii.gov tech department told me was that if people don't qualify for Medicaid, they might qualify for tax credits that would be sent to the insurance company that they buy a plan with. The people won't get the money. The insurance companies will. I guess that's so people won't spend the money on other things instead of sending the premiums to their insurance companies. I know that people's premiums have gone up dramatically, and I think thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people are being dropped from their plans.
Friday November 1, 2013:
Update on the medical.mybenefits.hawaii.gov website. This morning I tried at least a dozen times to log into my account with no success. Yesterday, a lady with the Hawaii Health Connector who is a Market Place Assister, was able to help me in her office create an application account and successfully log in. I called the number associated with the website for tech support this morning. The lady who answered didn't know when all the bugs and kinks would be removed from the site. The "Market Place Assister" told me when we filled out the online application to request communications by snail mail. Messages are left for applicants in their account sections, but if they can't log in, they can't read the messages.
After one week of trying, finally with help from the Market Place Assister our intrepid enrollee is able to log on, but still no answer to his eligibility question and no insurance enrollment.
Sunday November 3, 2013:
I tried logging in this morning a couple times. I got the same error message. I was told that it could take up to 30 days for me to know if I qualify. I really hope that I soon don't qualify for Medicaid because that will mean I'm making a decent return on my investments, instead of little to nothing. I'm going to use the long term stock trading techniques of Phil Town in his book, "Rule #1".
More next week….