Bill seeks to restore health insurance choice to GovGuam employees

Senator Jose 'Pedo' Terlaje.

Senator Jose ‘Pedo’ Terlaje has introduced a bill to restore choice to GovGuam employees in the selection of their health insurance plan.

Bill 255 seeks to repeal the current law which requires the selection of the single most economical and beneficial health insurance plan.

In a release, the senator said that law was supposed to save GovGuam money, but the costs this year are greater than ever.

Department of Administration director Edward Birn has not put a final price tag on the cost of the GovGuam health insurance plan this year. But he has acknowledged that it eventually could be over $100 million, which is over $15 million more than last year.

He told the Pacific News Center that health care costs rise every year and the current law is not a guarantee that costs will be lower. All it requires is that the single most economical and beneficial plan be selected from those offered.

“We just followed the law that we have to choose the most economical and beneficial policy which is what we did. We didn’t introduce the law, we just followed the law. And we got the best policy that fitted that definition in the law,” Birn said.

In a report released Friday by DOA, Aetna states that it has paid out nearly $2 million in claims since October first when its coverage began and 500 requests for off-island medical care have been approved.

TakeCare Insurance President Joseph Husslein issued a statement Monday saying the real issue is Public Law 35-02, Speaker Tina Muna Barnes’ measure requiring the inclusion of GRMC in the health insurance coverage provided to GovGuam employees.

In his statement Husslein says “True choice for the Government of Guam employees, families and retirees begins with repealing Public Law 35-02.”

“Insurance costs savings were not realized because control of the price of the health plan was delegated to the private hospital, which limited affordable health plans.”

“Allowing individuals and families to choose a health carrier with benefits that meet their own personal needs will control costs and increase choice.”