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Insurance carriers concerned about bill

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - Local insurance carriers are expected to testify in opposition of Bill 513, which was introduced by Senator Ben Pangelinan and ten of his colleagues.  The measure purports to be the solution to coming up with a health insurance contract for Fiscal Year 2013.

Staywell president Frances Santos says the measure doesn't allow insurance companies to sit down and negotiate the best possible rate with the best possible benefits. Instead, Santos says the proposal already sets out the government contribution but its up to carriers if they want to take the risk. "The negotiation process is a more effective, for us from an insurance side, this is a big risk and that's what we're trying to assess right now with our team is it okay guys - are we willing to take this risk?" Santos said.

While the plan seeks to mirror the same process the federal government uses for procuring health insurance for its employees, Calvo's SelectCare health plan administrator Frank Campillo says the bill doesn't require the same rigorous and extensive qualification process as the federal government by not requiring companies to show their ability to provide services and that they are financially sound.

"That creates a dangerous precedence because you're bypassing current existing procurement processes for health insurance, you bypass the insurance commissioner of Guam," he said. "The other dangerous precedence is that then it appears that when the Legislature doesn't like the procurement process then they're going to bypass the procurement process."

The public hearing for Bill 513 is scheduled for next Tuesday at 2 in the afternoon at the Legislative Public Hearing Room in Hagatna.

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