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Health insurance RFP closes Wednesday

by Mindy Aguon

Guam - The Government of Guam is seeking interested companies willing to provide insurance coverage to thousands of public sector employees and retirees.  While there was significant criticism over the rates that were negotiated for the current fiscal year, the department of administration is preparing to do the process all over again.

Interested healthcare providers have until Wednesday to submit proposals for next year's health insurance rates for Government of Guam employees and retirees. Acting Department of Administration Director Benita Manglona confirms that several parties picked up the request for proposal including one off-island company from the U.S. mainland that has partnered with a local company.  With a significant amount of criticism over the health insurance rates for the current fiscal year, Manglona says the government is looking to negotiate the best rates for the coming fiscal year. 

Although there had been a suggestion from Senator Ben Pangelinan to use more than one health carrier, Manglona says such a solution isn't feasible. "Our consultant strongly advised against that because it's going to cost more for the government to have more than one carrier because you can't really negotiate the rates well if you use two carriers," she explained.

Manglona says having more than one carrier didn't work in the past as one would end up providing coverage for the healthy employees while the other company would get the sickly employees and retirees resulting in them losing money.  For the last few years, Calvo's SelectCare has been the only carrier that has agreed to provide health insurance for GovGuam employees and retirees. Manglona says premiums for the coming year depends on what's negotiated this time around,

"These benefits are negotiated and of course if you ask for the Cadillac plan, you're going to have to pay Cadillac price," she analogized. "If you ask for a Tercel, you're going to pay a lower premium. The team last year wanted a lot of nice benefits in there and that's why the insurance rate went up and not only that, but the ObamaCare the insurance premium went up."

And lawmakers will no doubt play a bigger role in negotiations this time around considering several laws were passing allowing the appropriations and healthcare committee chairs to be non-voting members. The RFP closes on Wednesday the 15th and Manglona says negotiations will begin early next month, adding, "We are expecting the Hay group to come in the first week of July because we have to have the I mean the plan into the Legislature by the end of July - there's a deadline we have to meet."

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