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More than 10,000 children in isles remain uninsured


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POSTED: Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hawaii appears to be increasing health insurance coverage among residents.

But despite the state's health insurance programs for the poor and elderly, it still has tens of thousands of uninsured, including more than 10,000 children.

The percentage of those without health insurance in Hawaii was 6.7 percent in 2008, compared with 8.2 for years 2006-2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 2008 an estimated 83,111 people were without health insurance in Hawaii, more than 10,330 under age 18, the Census Bureau said.

State Sen. David Ige, chairman of the Senate Health Committee, said lawmakers are aware there is a gap group of working poor who do not qualify for state services.

Ige (D, Aiea-Pearl City) said the Legislature authorized $350,000 to cover an estimated 4,500 children without health insurance statewide in 2007 and 2008, but Gov. Linda Lingle's administration has ceased the program and declined to release the funds.

State Department of Human Services spokeswoman Toni Schwartz said the administration has raised the level of income eligibility and increased the number of families qualifying for health insurance benefits.

Schwartz said the department halted the release of funds for the gap group because people who could afford insurance were entering the health insurance program.

The Census Bureau ranked Hawaii first for the percentage of workers who carpool to work and was seventh in the U.S. for workers 16 and over who travel to work by public transportation.

Hawaii also led states in the largest percentage of households with at least three generations living together.

They totaled 7 percent of Hawaii's households, followed by California, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana.

               

     

 

2008 UNINSURED

Hawaii's health insurance coverage status:

       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Hawaii County
               
City / County HonoluluMaui CountyKauai CountyTotal
OVERALL
20,00943,94312,2206,93983,111
CHILDREN UNDER AGE 18
3,1374,0311,7611,40310,332
SENIORS 65 AND OLDER
150903162391,254

        Source: U.S. Census Bureau