Skip to main content

State Profile: Hawaii


Based on what happened here to me, I don’t think there’s one thing wrong with the American health care system. It is working just fine, just dandy.
-Rush Limbaugh, speaking about his experience with Hawaii's health care system. 
Was the billionaire broadcaster correct about health care in Hawaii? And is it indicative of the health care offered by the other 49 states? Yes and no. According the American Human Development Report (2005), Hawaiians live longer than residents of any other state (81.4 years). According the New York Times, Hawaiians are bullish about a system that leads the nation in breast cancer cure rate and where insurance premiums are among the lowest in the country as well as the lowest Medicare costs per beneficiary, despite Hawaii's high cost of living.

There's another major difference in Hawaiian health care, one that sets it apart from every other state: Employers must purchase health insurance for any employee who works more than twenty hours a week. All in all, about 90% of non-elderly Hawaiians have health insurance. (Elder Hawaiians are, of course, covered by Medicare.) Certainly, some employers duck the requirement by keeping hours under twenty a week or by simply refusing to pay. Others, though, are proud of the generous benefits afforded their employees.

The law is simple enough: Employers provide standardized health plans with no co-pays, low deductibles, and limits to out-of-pocket expenses. This in turn results in low administrative costs of around 7%. Employers purchase either a pre-approved plan, one they select subject to approval, or provide a self-funded plan. They may share costs with employees up to 50% or 1.5% of an employee's gross monthly earnings.

Hawaii does face problems with its health care system: The recession and the accompanying rise in unemployment has increased the number of uninsured, reflecting an inherent weakness in employer-based health care; the small hospitals of the outer islands face serious financial problems; and state health care benefits do not extend to long-term care, which has been plagued by a lack of liability insurance. Moreover, its geographic isolations and lifestyle may boost its outcomes. Nonetheless Hawaii's outcomes combined with its low cost of health care in a high cost-of-living state suggest the health and economic advantages of universal and equal access.

Click here to learn more about health care in Hawaii.

Popular posts from this blog

Taking The High Road With Food Allergies (Sometimes)

I was getting all ready to write a post about how grateful I am. You know...one of those count-down-to-Thanksgiving posts where I list all the people or things that have helped me along the way.

And I am grateful. Really. Having virtual friends who have traveled this same food-allergy road is a wonderful gift. I can name so many times when my panic and frustration were alleviated by someone I've never even met in real life, but who took the time to give me a tip, or to console me.

But frankly, my lovely gratitude post went out the window when I received this email from a relative:

What can we bring to share? I have some ideas: Sweet Potatoes glazed with Chutney and Ginger, Green beans with Dijon and Caper sauce, Creamed Green beans with Dill sauce, or whatever you request.   I am aware of [FAB's son] dietary restriction.

My son is allergic to beans. We avoid all beans. Even green beans. The doctor was surprised by this, as green beans are the least allergenic of the bean family, b…

Beans, Beans and More (or Less) Allergenic Beans!

We have a little good news this week: my son passed a home bean challenge for both pinto and cannellini (white) beans last night. Hooray!

At our last allergist visit, they ran the numbers on a number of varieties of beans and many were Class 0, with values like 0.68. My son's doctor thought it was reasonable to try these at home.

Going to stop for a moment and interject: DON'T DO THIS WITHOUT YOUR DOCTOR'S DIRECTION. A lot of things go into whether home challenges are a good idea for your child: how serious the allergen typically is, how far the hospital, how experienced the parents are with recognizing reactions. Many doctors are not comfortable with this at all. But, in our case, it makes sense to do some challenges at home because my son tests slightly allergic to dozens of foods.

He has avoided all beans since around age five, when he started developing new allergies. First it was tuna. Then cashews. Then (to our great surprise), he suddenly became allergic to garbonzo be…

Best Food Allergy Tweets/Posts From 2013 ACAAI Meeting

Sorry, guys...I've been very busy the last couple of weeks, but just over a week ago one of the largest allergy and asthma conferences, the annual American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, was tweeting its brains out.

Here were the tweets and (virtual) presentations I thought were most interesting:

ACE inhibitors are often used to treat high blood pressure. I believe Lisinopril was the one specifically mentioned. This goes hand in hand with the idea that older patients, especially men, can see changes in the severity of their allergic reactions as they age.

Here's an answer on the question many of us asked about component testing. Just as with RAST, the number itself doesn't matter; just the positive result.

Gross! But yes, give your kids the bobber after the dog/ brother/ mailman licked it.

Conversely, tree-nut-allergic individuals have a 30% incidence of concurrent peanut allergy. 
So stop blaming yourselves, FA mommies! I've said this consistently - Mother Natur…