HONOLULU — Gov. David Ige has signed a bill aimed at assuring that elderly couples will be able to stay together in community care homes.

The law allows more than one non-Medicaid patient to stay at the same care home, Hawaii News Now reported (http://bit.ly/2sOaaeq ).

In recent years, a number of elderly couples have had to be split apart because of rules requiring no more than one private pay resident per home.

The bill will ensure private pay married couples and civil union couples can reside in the same Medicaid home without losing federal funding, state Rep. John Mizuno said.

Noboru and Elaine Kawamoto, married for 69 years, were one such couple separated because they were both non-Medicaid patients.

“I am elated for the Kawamoto couple and their family,” Mizuno said. “I always felt that a state regulation should not deny a couple married for 69 years, nor any married couple, the right to live with each other.

“This is a bill with faces. It’s a bill that displays a beautiful love story.”