The Special Case for COFA Migrants

Since the Basic Health Hawaii (BHH) health plan was blocked by a federal judge in December of 2010, there have been whispers in the community about the possibility of an appeal. The BHH plan was created to save the state approximately $15 million dollars a year by cutting access to health care services for Micronesian migrants. Those affected include only Micronesians under the Compact of Free Association (COFA), commonly referred to as COFA migrants. The BHH health plan would move low-income COFA migrants from the state’s MedQuest program to a cheaper plan that provides less benefits.

The decision to appeal the case was with the Governor’s office, but it has since been confirmed that the state will appeal the case in an attempt to reinstate the BHH health plan.

As state officials move forward with the appeal, they should be reminded of the unique case that COFA migrants present and wary of the consequences of an unequal public benefits plan that targets such an underepresented group.

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