Just two months after the implementation of Public Law 19-60, government employees and retirees experienced a decrease in health insurance premiums. Ardently supported by Governor Ralph DLG. Torres, the increase in health insurance membership after the law’s enactment has resulted in a reduction in employee premium rates under the 2016 policy by 1.5 percent.
According to Secretary of Finance Larrisa Larson, the decrease is on the employee share, an offset afforded to government retirees as well.
“The Torres-Hocog Administration is aware of the challenges faced by employees and retirees in the CNMI regarding the cost of health insurance coverage and we will continue to shoulder a significant portion of the health insurance costs through the employer share of the premium,” Larson said.
Governor Ralph DLG. Torres shared that House Local Bill 19-114 was signed in early August 2016 allowing the Department of Finance to administer the government’s Group Health and Life Insurance program.
“This change allowed the government’s health and life insurance to run more efficiently and affordably than the Northern Mariana Islands Retirement Fund. With this, the premium rates and any changes in the enrollment have taken effect since October 01, 2016 and we remain cognizant of the issue of rising health and life insurance costs. I am happy to say that with the increase in the number of participants in the government’s group insurance plans, we will continue to minimize increases in premiums,” Torres said.
For active government contributions, an employee will pay $85.33 for coverage on the high end, $27.25 for low coverage, $2.35 for basic. An employee and spouse will pay $174.93 for high coverage, $55.870 for low coverage and $4.82 for basic. An employee and their family will pay $272.07 for high coverage, $87.19 for low, $7.51 for basic.
For government retirees, employees will pay $92.44 for high coverage, $29.52 for low, $2.55 for basic. Inclusion of retiree spouses will cost $189.51 for high, $60.52 for low, and $5.22 for basic. For retirees and their family, $295.83 for high coverage, $94.46 for low, and $8.14 for basic.
According to Governor Torres, this is the first phase of healthcare plans that will lead to significant policy reform to address enrollment costs and the healthcare needs of the Commonwealth.