Hawaii’s Micronesian population is estimated to be at least 15,000, and as with all new arrivals here they are making many contributions to our community.

The also face huge challenges — among them, health insurance.

Over the last five weeks, leaders in the local Micronesian community have organized outreach and listening sessions in response to the recent state decision to terminate Med-QUEST benefits for Compact of Free Association (COFA) migrants.

Laledron Dance Group performs at the Celebrate Micronesia event held at the Honolulu Museum of Art School.  28 march 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The Laledron Dance Group performs at the Celebrate Micronesia event held at the Honolulu Museum of Art School on March 28.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The goal is to enroll them under the state’s federal health-insurance exchange that is part of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).

“While community advocates and the Hawaii Health Connector struggled to transition over 7,500 individuals to ACA-based healthcare plans, confusion and problems prevailed,” according to a flier promoting Thursday talk.

The panel speakers are Dr. Neal Palafox, professor and former chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the John A. Burns School of Medicine; Joakim “Jojo” Peter, a doctoral student in the special education program at the UH Manoa College of Education and a community advocate for Micronesians; Dr. Sheldon Riklon, a Marshallese family physician born and raised in the Marshall Islands; and Megan Kiyomi Inada Hagiwara, a UH graduate in Public Health, Epidemiology.


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