HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - Gov. David Ige signed a new law on Thursday that ensures certain benefits under the Affordable Care Act will be preserved under Hawaii law.
Senate Bill 2340 retains several of the measures introduced in the Obama-era legislation, also known as Obamacare, including a clause that allows Hawaii adults up to 26 years-old to continue receiving health insurance under their parents.
The law also prohibits health insurance organizations from excluding coverage to those with preexisting conditions, or using an individual's gender to determine premiums or contributions to health insurance plans.
The law is in place to ensure certain benefits under the Affordable Care Act are retained in the event that the federal government repeals the Affordable Care Act. The most recent attempt at repealing and replacing ACA under the Trump administration was in September of last year.
"The provisions ensured by this bill, such as prohibiting preexisting condition exclusions, will ensure continued access to health insurance and reinforce Hawaii's position as a state with one of the lowest uninsured rates in the nation," said Gordon Ito, insurance commissioner for the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, in an April statement supporting the measure.
Several major Hawaii healthcare organizations like Kaiser Permanente, HMSA, and the Hawaii Medical Association also submitted testimony in support of the bill.
Khara Jabola-Carolus, executive director of the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, also had positive reviews of the bill back in April.
"This measure is critically important for women because one in four women in the United States have a preexisting condition. Prior to the ACA, some insurance plans even denied coverage to women with a prior pregnancy," Carolus's statement reads.
"Over half a million Hawaii residents were extended coverage through the ACA. Their lives are at stake," Carolus said.