LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE ON HEALTH TO HOST TOWN HALL PRESENTATION ON MEDICARE
Chairperson Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr. and the Legislative Committee on Health and Senior Citizens will be hosting a Town Hall presentation on Medicare by the Division of Senior Citizens of the Department of Public Health and Social Services. The presentation will be held on Wednesday, March 25, 2015, at 5:30 PM in the Guam Legislature Public Hearing Room.
“It is my intent to reach out to senior citizens who are Medicare eligible for both government of Guam and private sector retirees. The presentation will also be of interest to active employees who are eligible,” Senator Rodriguez stated. “Currently there are over 12,000 Medicare members on Guam. And many more that are eligible who are not members.”
“This includes a surprisingly large number of government of Guam retirees and active employees who are eligible but do not take advantage of it for lack of information. They choose to solely remain with the GovGuam health plan. I am constantly approached by these retirees requesting for a more cost effective, affordable interaction between the two,” Rodriguez added.
The Division of Senior Citizens provided an excellent informational presentation on Thursday for the Government of Guam Group Health Insurance Negotiating Team on Medicare and how Medicare interacts with the GovGuam insurance plans. “I believe this will be of interest to others as well, which is why we are going to conduct it,” stated Rodriguez.
Senator Rodriguez concluded, “I am sincerely grateful to the Division of Senior Citizens administrator Arthur San Agustin and to Joleen Almandres, the program expert on Medicare, for their active cooperation and support in conducting this presentation.”
Division of Senior Citizens representatives will be on hand to assist any eligible retiree to schedule to enroll or answer any questions. Representatives from the Department of Administration Human Resource Benefits Program and the Government of Guam Retirement Fund have been invited to attend and facilitate the presentation. The deadline for open enrolment into Medicare for 2015 is Tuesday, March 31, 2015.
The Town Hall Presentation on Medicare will be broadcast live on the legislative Channel 117 for Docomo Pacific subscribers and Channel 2 for GTA customers.
For more information, please contact the office of Senator Dennis Rodriguez, Jr.: 649-8338/0511
Senator Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr., Chairman of the Committee on Health, will convene a legislative roundtable next week to assess the demand for assisted living facilities on Guam, including how the government might facilitate the development of assisted living care locally. The round table will be held on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 9am in the Legislature's Public Hearing Room.
Currently there are no designated assisted living homes or communities on island.
“Assisted living facilities are taking a more prominent role in healthcare, especially eldercare and long-term care,” Rodriguez says. “But with no designated assisted living facilities on island, local families must look off-island. This results in numerous, often complicated, and life changing medical, economic, social, and cultural considerations that, quite frankly, can be overwhelming for families,” he adds.
The March 11th meeting will seek stakeholder input, especially from affected families, the medical community, social service organizations, and patient advocates. The Senator says he would especially like to hear from families that have had to make or are currently facing a decision regarding assisting living care.
Additionally, the Health Committee Chairman would like to hear from government agencies that have worked with families facing assisted living care decisions, calling their input crucial.
"Whether from Public Health, particularly the Division of Senior Citizens and home visitation nurses, Behavioral Health and Wellness, Office for the Aging, Medical Referral or even individual Mayors, many of those workers are on the front line; they have first-hand knowledge of not only what families face but ideas on how government can best help," Rodriguez says.
Noting the degree to which healthcare services are market driven, Senator Rodriguez adds that private sector input, including insurers, is also encouraged.
“Based on discussions I’ve had with a limited number of families and doctors, I think it is time to broaden the conversation. It is time to get a handle on to what degree the assisted living dilemma is impacting our island today and the potential impact for tomorrow and how, as a community, we can best respond,” Senator Rodriguez concluded.
The Committee on Health, in an effort to solicit input and information from members of the Government of Guam Group Health Insurance Plan, will be conducting an Informational Meeting on Tuesday, March 10, 2016 at 5:30 PM, in the Guam Legislature Public Hearing Room.
The purpose of the meeting is to seek input from members (active employees, retirees and dependents) early on as the government of Guam moves forward with the FY-2016 procurement of health insurance. “It is critical that the beneficiaries of the government of Guam health insurance plan have the opportunity to voice their concerns and their preferred desired scope of coverage,” Senator Rodriguez stated. “They must be given this opportunity early on in the process, not after the RFP is published and the contract is already executed.”
“We annually spend tens of millions of dollars for coverage, and I want to ensure that the members are getting the best possible coverage for their hard earned money,” Rodriguez added. “I wish to gauge the level of satisfaction, and identify any issues that the members may have.”
In FY-2015, the Government of Guam Health Insurance Negotiating Team successfully negotiated numerous new or expanded levels of coverage. And, they were additionally able to remove many outdated exclusions which contradicted the scope of benefits listed. The numerous exclusions had long been an impediment to the receipt of proper healthcare coverage. “The exclusions just kept being included in subsequent fiscal year contracts, when even team members could no longer recall why it was even added back in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s in the first place. The negotiating Team was instrumental in cleaning up the contract,” Rodriguez emphasized.
As good as the current plan is it is necessary to try to develop an even better plan and smooth out any glitches, but seek to do so without an undue increase in premiums. “I am strongly encouraging active employees, retirees and their dependents to attend the Informational Meeting and bring to the Committee’s attention, as well as the members of the Negotiating Team, their concerns or desired scope of coverage they would like addressed in the upcoming procurement process for Fiscal Year 2016,” Rodriguez concluded.
For more information on the meeting, please contact our office at 649-8638/0511.