- Hawaii is set to debate the feasibility of attempting the first universal long-term care insurance program in the U.S. via a measure to be introduced by Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health Committee Chair Roz Baker, Forbes reports.
- The program would allow beneficiaries to receive $70 per day for up to one year to reimburse long-term care expenses, and would be funded through a surtax on Hawaii's general excise tax, which is levied on businesses.
- The state has been eyeing the idea since the 90s, Forbes reports, because it has a growing elderly population, and a culture of caring for older adults.
Since Hawaii's economy is typically consumer-dependent, it is estimated tourists would cover a third of the program's expenses, according to state officials.
Hawaii's measure is far from certain to pass. Previous bills have failed to move forward, though some are optimistic the tax increase will stand a better chance of acceptance being that it's an election year.
The concept got a boost from a 2014 state's Department of Health report that studied cost and feasibility for several possible versions of public long-term care insurance.
If it does happen, Hawaii will serve as an experiment and a model for other states and the federal government. Although no moves are imminent from the federal government, it will be facing the issue as numerous groups prepare to propose a variety of models over the coming months, Forbes reports.