Understanding the New Health Care Laws Part 1: Differences Between the PHCA and ACA
May 7, 2014
Hawaii’s system of health care coverage is unique in at least two ways: the state has achieved nearly universal insurance coverage, and the insurance coverage regulations are governed by two sets of laws. The Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act (PHCA) was enacted in 1974 to guarantee health care coverage for nearly all working Hawaii residents. This mainstay of Hawaii employment has been credited for Hawaii’s ranking as the state with the second-lowest rate of uninsured (after Massachusetts). PHCA mostly complements, but sometimes conflicts with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was passed in March of 2010. The conflicts between PHCA and the ACA are an ongoing source of contention at the Legislature since most agree that we should preserve the PHCA, Hawaii's existing healthcare law.
The various health care laws affecting Hawaii are complex and complicated, and the provided chart is intended to help you better understand the Legislature's ongoing debate over PHCA and ACA. To help explain the varying facets of these laws, the material is broken down into two-parts: the differences between the state and federal health care laws; and the Hawaii Health Connector, the new online insurance exchange.