Bill providing GovGuam health insurance choice debated

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Sen. Pedo Terlaje reads a prepared statement during a Zoom hearing on his Bill Bill 255, which would allow GovGuam employees to choose from the two most economical and beneficial health plans.

Department of Administration Director Edward Birn today spoke out against a bill that would once again provide a choice of different health insurance plans for GovGuam employees.

The measure was introduced by Sen. Pedo Terlaje and co-sponsored by Speaker Tina Muna Barnes who introduced a similar bill last year.

The current law requires the selection of the most economical and beneficial health insurance plan offered by just one company.

However, Bill 255 would allow GovGuam employees to choose from the two most economical and beneficial health plans.

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Last year, Aetna won the contract to be the sole provider for GovGuam, but Terlaje was critical of their service.

“The true issue we are here today to discuss is whether the government savings is worth the anxiety, disappointment, and the feeling of uncertainty for our subscribers,” Terlaje said.

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But DOA Director Birn, who chairs the group health insurance committee, said we have not yet completed one year with Aetna. And he urged lawmakers not to rush to a conclusion based on incomplete information.

“The lowest cost means the lowest cost for both the government and the subscriber. All of us are aware of every increased cost of health care. How else can these costs be contained unless there is price competition,” Birn said.

The health insurance contract is the single largest procurement for GovGuam every year. Last year, it exceeded $100 million.

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