Judiciary responds to health coverage issue - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Judiciary responds to health coverage issue

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - The Judiciary of Guam has responded to a letter from the Department of Administration essentially saying it disagrees with its assessment over who exactly would cover retirees with the health insurance plan.

The Judiciary had opted out of GovGuam's group health plan and chose its own health insurance carrier which would exclude retirees. Court policy, planning and communications director Joshua Tenorio says the Judiciary does not believe Guam statute authorizes DOA to drop the court's retirees despite DOA's citation in the law.

"In fact in our letter, we note that for the autonomous agencies of the government, the legislature mandates them to pay the retirement fund for the cost of their retiree health insurance 0950 in the judiciary's case, we're part of the general fund appropriations and in that way the legislature has treated our retirees no different than the other general fund retirees of the government of Guam from the executive and legislative branches," he said.

In the letter, legal counsel B. Ann Keith wrote the Judiciary is "appalled" that DOA had indicated its intentions to refuse health insurance to Judiciary of Guam retirees. Tenorio meanwhile adds for the last 30 to 40 years, the appropriations that are made to the Retirement Fund from the General Fund have included the Judiciary's retirees.

He says based on its legal counsel's read of the law, its decision to opt out of the group plan still does not authorize DOA to drop the court's retirees. It was yesterday when the Administration noted its legal counsel would be sending a letter to the attorney general on what can be done on the situation.

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