Concerns still plague Guam over Obamacare implementation - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Concerns still plague Guam over Obamacare implementation


GUAM -
 
It was Oct. 16 when the National Association of Insurance commissioners wrote to HHS asking for flexibility with Obamacare, specifically whether an extension was possible or exempting Guam and the territories all together.
 
 
"They're looking at the whole Obamacare right now and they're looking at extending it from January 1st next year to October 1st next year" Illagan explained.
 
In fact a recent executive order by President Barack Obama did just that. Tax commissioner Art Illagan however says it doesn't erase the concern on Guam.
 
 
"The problem is with the Obamacare is the benefits are good, but the benefits does not come with the subsidies and the laws that apply that goes in the United States that should go with Guam."
 
Illagan says its still unclear how the law works for Guam as he's left with a dilemma considering that the benefits apply to Suam but the subsidies do not.
 
 "If subsidies apply and you add more benefits to the insurance laws, then you're going to have problems with how you're going to pay for this because there's no subsidies and there's no mandates so we have that adverse selection that may happen and most likely it will happen and prices will go up and will become almost unaffordable for the people of Guam."

 
In terms of prices, Illagan is referring to an increase in premiums which according to the health insurance companies on Guam could be anywhere up to 55-percent --- this ultimately as a result of the territories being treated differently than the states. He adds it doesn't stop there as the reason behind the extension range from a list of problems not only from its website and enrollment but medicaid too. While the feds will pay 100-percent for medicaid in the states, Guam still has to match with 45-percent with our funds to the 55-percent of funds given by the feds.
 
 
"So we're going to find it very difficult when a lot of people are going to qualify for medicaid and we don't have the matching fund to pay" Illagan analyzed.

 
But as he continues to stress, it all comes down to fairness.
 
 "If they're giving relief to the United States, then they should listen to the territories plea to relieve the territories of this burden."
 
Illagan says he's still unsure if the president's executive order can change a law considering it's already passed. He will however be meeting with the health insurance companies on Friday to determine how to apply the law uniformally.

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