Hawaii lawmakers may be getting closer to passing a bill that would require state officials to study the idea of creating a public long-term care insurance (LTCI) program.
State legislature leaders have set up a conference committee to reconcile differences between the state House version of the public LTCI study bill, H.B. 1 H.D. 2, and the state Senate version, H.B. 1, S.D. 2.
State Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland, D-Sand Island, the chairman of the Human Services Committee, will chair the conference committee.
Rep. Della Au Belatti, D-Tantalus, will be the co-chair.
A Hawaii long-term care (LTC) commission concluded in January 2012 that only a minority of Americans had ever had private LTCI coverage or were ever likely to have private LTCI coverage, and that the state should develop a public alternative that would be affordable enough to win broad public support.
The study bill the House approved, H.B. 1 H.D. 2, calls for officials to commission a "policy analysis" and an actuarial analysis of the idea of crreating a "limited, mandatory, public long-term care insurance program for the state's working population."
The organization conducting the policy analysis study would consider the policy options in the 2012 study commission report, including the parameters of a public LTCI program, and "possible alternatives" that were not in the 2012 report, including tax incentives for the purchase of private LTCI coverage and the kind of Medicaid-private LTCI benefits coordination program that many other states have.
"The purpose of the analysis is to determine which policy option would be most politically viable, have the strongest support of the community, and provide meaningful financial help to those most in need," according to the text of that version.
The version the Senate approved, H.B. 1, S.D. 2, would have state officials commission a "feasibility study" and an actuarial analysis of a "limited, mandatory, public long-term care financing program for the state's working population."
The House version mentions that an actuarial analysis would be needed as the basis for imposing any mandatory tax. The Senate version specifies that the actuarial analysis should give an estimate of the size of the mandatory tax needed to implement a limited, mandatory public LTCI financing program.