Assistance Available for Those in Need - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Assistance Available for Those in Need

Serena Calkins Serena Calkins
Jen Harris Jen Harris

By Mari-Ela David

KAKAAKO (KHNL) -- There's a huge chunk of money available for those who can't afford insurance, but state leaders say people aren't taking advantage of it.

State workers just wrapped up outreach efforts at the Kakaako shelter Tuesday evening. They say this insurance money has been available since March, but more than 85 percent of those who qualify still haven't tapped into it.

For those who are down on their luck...

"We moved to Hawaii to start over and start school and stuff, and in Kona we ended up getting robbed," says Serena Calkins, applicant.

There's new help from the state -- $100 million worth of health insurance coverage available for those in need, such as those in the Kakaako homeless shelter.

"I need my glasses faster since I start school on the 23rd so I'll be able to see," says Calkins.

It's part of a new program called Quest Ace. The Department of Human Services says it's different.

It targets those who make too much to qualify for programs like Medicaid, but don't make enough to afford insurance, such as college students with part time jobs.

"It offers dental services and that something we hear a lot, dental services can be quite expensive," says Jen Harris, Next Step Shelter coordinator.

There's enough money to give 20,000 people free insurance, but so far only 1,500 have applied.

"I wish more people knew about it because I didn't even know about it until today," says Calkins.

It only takes five days for coverage to take effect.

Adults ages 19 to 64 who don't have kids qualify.

Quest Ace is ideal for part-time workers, the unemployed, and students.

For more information, call 2-1-1.

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