Cruz Suggests Medicare as Alternative Heath Coverage for Some GovGuam Retirees

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Guam – Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz is suggesting that GovGuam explore Medicare and supplemental coverage as an alternative to covering certain GovGuam retirees.

 

In a letter to Governor Calvo, the Vice Speaker argues that it could reduce GovGuam’s health insurance costs and the premiums that GovGuam employees currently pay.

READ Vice Speaker Cruz’s letter to Governor Calvo HERE

Cruz also points out that maximizing the use of Medicare could also result in benefits to younger and healthier GovGuam employees.

READ the cost-benefit sheet HERE

In his letter, Cruz writes:

“By reducing the number of retirees on the government’s health insurance program, insurance premiums may become more affordable to younger employee …in turn, more employees will enroll for health insurance coverage and, as a result, the Guam Memorial Hospital may experience a reduction in the number of self-pay patients.”

READ Vice Speaker’s Release in FULL below:

Vice Speaker: Maximized retiree enrollment in Medicare could yield savings to taxpayers, government workers

(March 11, 2012- Hagåtña) Following the administration’s renewed call for more cuts in GovGuam expenditures, Vice Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz suggests the government explore Medicare and supplemental coverage as an alternative to covering certain retirees on the Government of Guam’s Health Insurance Program and to reduce costs to the government and possibly to all active employees paying insurance premiums.   

In a letter to Governor Eddie Baza Calvo sent Friday, the Vice Speaker suggests that the government may spend considerably less on healthcare coverage for certain eligible retirees if they are enrolled for Medicare benefits instead of the government’s health insurance program. Further, Cruz wrote that maximizing retiree use of Medicare may not only mean savings in premiums, there is an ancillary benefit that would accrue to young healthy GovGuam employees.

“By reducing the number of retirees on the government’s health insurance program, insurance premiums may become more affordable to younger employees,” Cruz wrote. “In turn, more employees will enroll for health insurance coverage and, as a result, the Guam Memorial Hospital may experience a reduction in the number of self-pay patients.”

This fiscal year, under the current arrangement for health insurance, the government spends at least $6,027 dollars in premiums for a retiree enrolled for health insurance.

“In the most ideal of circumstances, individual coverage under Medicare for hospital insurance, medical insurance, and its prescription drug plan costs about $130.98 monthly,” Cruz wrote. “That is about $1,571.76 annually and about one-fourth the cost of the health insurance premiums for retirees who are enrolled in the insurance plan under the Class 1, single with no dependents category.”

Cruz acknowledges that individual Medicare premiums are ultimately affected by a wide range of factors including enrollment timing, gross income, and the length of creditable employment. He wrote of the need for the government to survey all retirees and active employees to ascertain their current or eventual eligibility for Medicare benefits. Cruz also wants the government to explore the use of supplemental insurance as a way to cover gaps in coverage between GovGuam health insurance and Medicare.