Due to skyrocketing costs of medical expenses, the CNMI Group Health Insurance Program will increase by 50 percent the premium contributions pitched in by government employees beginning Jan. 1, 2000.
Even if the government cannot come up with an equivalent 50 percent share, NMI Retirement Fund Administrator Juan S. Torres said his office will still adjust the employees’ rates.
While private health insurance firms have been carrying out increases every year, this will be the second time that the CNMI Group Health Insurance Program will hike its employees’ share since 1995.
“We cannot force the government to adjust its share because we understand its present predicament with the declining revenue,” said Mr. Torres.
According to Dolores S. Moore, manager of CNMI Group Health Insurance Program, the increase in deduction of premium contributions will be reflected effective pay period Jan. 2, 2000.
She reminded employees that they should immediately report if the new rates did not reflect in their payroll because this would mean “double deduction” in the next pay period.
The new bi-weekly contribution rates are the following:
• Self Only (201) –– $32.79;
• Self & Family (202) –– $85.88;
• Self Only (204) –– $20.63; and
• Self & Family (205) $49.65.
Before the rate increase was adopted by the board, the proposed amendment was published in the Commonwealth Register last Aug. 23, 1999. During that period, no objections were raised regarding the planned rate adjustment. (See table on Page 4)
With the planned increase in government’s health insurance, private health companies are taking the opportunity to sell their plan at a lower rate.
Staywell Health Insurance has been swamped with inquiries after the NMIRF announced the rate hike for next year, according to general manager Chai Alfeche.
She said Staywell offers competitive rates covering more providers or Centers of Excellence located off-island. In the Philippines, the hospitals include St. Luke’s, Philippine Heart Center, Cardinal Santos and the National Kidney Center.
Although the private health companies carry out increases every year, Staywell claimed it adjusted its rate by a minimum of 3 percent in anticipation of the increase in the costs of medical expenses.