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Governor takes action on health insurance

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - While Acting Governor Mike Cruz had hoped the local government and Calvo's SelectCare would go back to the drawing board to renegotiate rates for the new fiscal year, today Governor Felix Camacho, while in California, signed the plan to allay concerns that there wouldn't be a health insurance plan come Friday.  And it appears the chief executive's signature has put the insurance issue to rest.   

Thousands of Government of Guam employees and retirees will have health insurance coverage on October 1.  From Lake Tahoe the island's chief executive put pen to paper, signing the government's Healthcare Insurance Program for Fiscal Year 2011.  Camacho says the contract is in compliance with the recently signed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

He thanked the negotiating team, the Department of Administration, the Attorney General's Office and consultant Aon Insurance for their "due diligence in seeing the contract through start to finish."

The signing of the contract followed Calvo's SelectCare's response to Cruz denying his request to disclose detailed information explaining the rate increases.  SelectCare Health Plan Administrator Frank Campillo said the utilization and claims data was already provided to the negotiating team and the government's actuary. SelectCare is the only local insurance provider that bid on the health insurance plan for the coming year. 

The plan administrator reminded Cruz that when Guardian Life withdrew coverage last year, SelectCare allowed a special open enrollment and accommodated the employees and retirees who would have had no dental coverage.  Campillo asked the Acting Governor to meet with the negotiation team to review the data to satisfy his concerns regarding fairness reminding him that SelectCare complied with the requirements of the request for proposal, provided the necessary claims data to evaluate the utilization rates to the team and the actuary and followed the rules of the open bidding process.

Governor Camacho meanwhile also signed the government's Fiscal Year 2010 health insurance contract that had been at the AG's Office for the last year.  The contracts had gone unsigned because the AG expressed concerns with a dispute resolution provision that was deemed contrary to Guam law. The attorney general has not yet said whether those contracts were in fact valid but the government has been paying on the agreement and Calvo's has provided the services without the signatures.

Senator Rory Respicio today sent a letter to the AG seeking answers on this issue as well.  

Meanwhile, another request for a review of the coming year's health insurance rates was shot down today.  Insurance Commissioner John Camacho issued his response to Healthcare Committee chairman Senator Frank Aguon, Jr.  Camcaho said the government's negotiating team had the assistance of an actuary from Aon Consultants to evaluate the rates.  The commissioner added that his office has no funds to hire its own actuary for rate review. 

Camacho signed-off on this year's contract and says he will not investigate any complaints unless there's an allegation that the law was broken.

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