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Friday, April 18, 2014

29 Fund members terminate health insurance coverage

Some members of the government’s Group Health and Life Insurance Program have refused to accept the new premium rates imposed by Aetna International, the program’s health insurance provider.

Acting NMI Retirement Fund administrator Lillian Pangelinan disclosed to Saipan Tribune that 29 members have so far elected to terminate their membership from the health insurance program.

Fund records indicate that 14 active members and 15 retirees decided to stop their health insurance coverage during the months of January and February—the extension period approved by the government with the insurance provider.

Pangelinan said these numbers may still change. The deadline for retirees to terminate their membership is today, Jan. 21. Active members had until Jan. 15 to do so.

Saipan Tribune learned that the 29 members covered three islands.

Since Jan. 1, 2014, the premium rates for GHLIP members increased by 40 percent pursuant to the new contract signed between the Inos administration and Aetna International. The contract is just a 60-day extension.

Retirees and active government employees who accepted the new premium rate will start paying the higher charges by the end of this month.

The CNMI government pays 50 percent share of the health insurance policy of members; the other half is paid by Fund members.

The amount of new deductibles include $300 for single, $600 for couple, and $900 for family category.

The Inos administration earlier said the Aetna contract was extended to give the Executive Branch more time to find another health insurance policy that would be in the best interest of members and the government.

If Aetna is selected as the official health insurance provider for 2014, the amounts paid by members and retirees toward their deductibles during the extension period will be credited to their deductible under the new policy beginning March 1, 2014.

Fund records show that there are approximately 2,400 individuals who benefit from the health coverage plan.

Pangelinan earlier emphasized that retirees who terminate their health insurance coverage will not be able to re-enroll in the government’s health insurance program.

The Group Health Life Insurance Program is a benefit program of the government that is run by the Retirement Fund administrator. Aetna International has been servicing its members’ health insurance for many years. Its contract expired on Dec. 31, 2013.

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