NU Online News Service, July 1, 6:44 p.m. – Hawaiian Gov. Benjamin Cayetano, a Democrat, today signed H.B. 2638, a bill that lays the groundwork for the Hawaii Long-Term Care Benefits Fund, a new state long-term care finance program.

“The program will provide a universal and affordable system of providing for long-term care for Hawaii’s residents,” Cayetano said Friday in a statement announcing his plans to sign the bill.

The original version of H.B. 2638 would have required employers to pay a premium of $10 per employee per month and provided a minimum benefit of $70 per day for 365 days for all program participants.

The final version eliminates those specific guidelines. Instead, it sets up a five-member board of trustees and authorizes the board to hire actuaries to help it design a plan in time for the regular 2003 legislative session.

H.B. 2638 was introduced by Rep. Marilyn Lee, D-Mililani, Hawaii.

The final version of the bill passed 38-13 in the House and 21-3 in the Senate.

The text of the bill is on the Web at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/sessioncurrent/bills/hb2638_cd1_.htm

Cayetano also signed S.B. 2416, a related bill that requires the state Executive Office on Aging to convene a long-term care summit to determine what else the state should do about improving the quality and affordability of long-term care.

S.B. 2416 was introduced by Sen. David Matsuura, D-South Hilo, Hawaii.

The final version of the Senate bill passed 22-3 in the Senate and 32-14 in the House.

The text of S.B. 2416 is available at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/sessioncurrent/bills/sb2416_cd2_.htm