The annual ritual was again endured last month: Selection of government of Guam health insurance. For the last four years we have gone from Calvo’s Selectcare, to Aetna, back to Calvo’s Selectcare, and now to TakeCare. Each time, we must study the new documents, compare benefits, complete new forms and learn the new bureaucracy.
We attended a session at the Guam Museum to meet the insurance salespersons. Missing was any government of Guam representation, that should be present, to provide an analysis and recommendation for our selection. The choice between the two, SelectCare and TakeCare, was like comparing bananas and pineapples with their different programs, coverage, co-payments, deductibles, etc. — but not really a choice as one has a premium of $0 per month and the rival upwards of $300 and above per month.
Why is this required every year? We should have continued insurance coverage for several years.
Then there is the challenge to obtain an essential prescription, not available on Guam, from a different off-island pharmacy. After two hours on the telephone, what was missing was our new insurance card with our member number. To register online we had to have the member number, Rx Bin number, group number and benefits ID number — all a chore to find without the new insurance card.
All this just simply creates stress, confusion and uncertainty. This is just not the way to treat our manamko’. We could and should be doing better than this.
Add this debacle of government of Guam health insurance to the growing list of our crises in health care: Limited health care professionals; the unresolved situation with medical malpractice; a deteriorating public hospital; an abandoned public health and social services building; and the lack of a professional health care planning agency.
We certainly have hundreds of dedicated and hardworking health care professionals serving the people of Guam, but what is lacking is real leadership to meet the challenges.
Incredibly, the Guam Economic Development Agency, which simply has no experience in health care, has been tasked to lead us out of this wilderness. But their progress has rarely been revealed to the stakeholders — the people of Guam — and now a supposed master plan for a medical campus has been delayed until maybe the end of the year. So this dream medical campus (costing easily over $1 billion) can only be stated as currently lacking a plan, money and land.
Dave Lotz is a vocal advocate for protecting Guam’s unique heritage, a knowledgeable and long-time hiking enthusiast and environmental advocate, and critic of inept government. He has been a resident of Guam since 1970 and retired from the Guam Department of Parks and Recreation, Andersen AFB Environmental Flight and the National Park Service.