First Focus on Children submitted the following comment to Xavier Becerra, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services encouraging them to approve the waiver and allow Hawaii to offer early childhood continuous eligibility through ages 0-5.

Excerpt from the Comment:

Currently, Hawai’i offers continuous eligibility for 12 months for all children ages 0-18 enrolled in Medicaid, as required by federal law as of January 1, 2024. While this is a positive step towards keeping children insured, state data shows that “churn,” which occurs when a child is unduly disenrolled and then subsequently re-enrolled within a year, impacts one in four disenrolled children in Hawai’i. Gaps in both coverage and access to care can be detrimental to a child’s development. Even a short gap in coverage can harm a child by reducing their access to necessary care. If a coverage gap is prolonged, families may face expensive medical bills or may push off their child’s care due to high out-of-pocket costs. Churn also impacts low-income families and families of color more heavily, as their incomes are more likely to fluctuate in and out of eligibility levels during the year.

Read the full comment.