AlohaCare Filling the Health Coverage Gap; Free Health Care - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

AlohaCare Monthly Check Up: Filling the Health Coverage Gap; Free Health Care

The number of Hawaii's uninsured has doubled in the past 20 years and continues to climb.

In our first "monthly check up with Aloha Care" segment, we look at one option that helps fill the growing health coverage gap.

Kathy Conner found herself unemployed and uninsured. So did Fran Mueller.

"Suddenly nothing. I didn't know what to do."

Then, they found out about Waimanalo Health Center. It's a full service medical and dental clinic for free, or a small fee.

"A lot of programs for people who are uninsured and think that maybe there isn't anything out there, there is," said Medical Director Dr. Christina Lee.

With more Hawaii workers now losing their jobs, calls are up and appointments are filling up fast.

"In the last month, we have 50 percent of our new patients being uninsured," Dr. Lee said. "It's gone up remarkably."

For Kathy's husband Roy, it was the difference between life and death. He had cancer and didn't know it, and couldn't afford treatment.

"The clinic paid for the biopsy," she said.

Fran appreciated the center so much, she volunteered, and landed a job helping others down on their luck get help.

"I think we offer like a lifeline to a lot of people who don't have any other options," Mueller said.

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