OVERDUE BILL CANCELS CNMI HEALTH INSURANCE

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SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, April 1) - Government employees
and retirees who are members of the Group Health Life Insurance Plan may have to
pay cash for the health services they need starting today following the
administration’s failure to remit the $500,000 payment demanded by Hawaii
Pacific Medical Referral.

"There’s no money. We didn’t get the payment,"
said Joseph Reyes, chairman of the Retirement Fund’s board of trustees, which
administers GHLIP.

Reyes said he talked to Gov. Juan N. Babauta who told him that
there was no money.

"I’m a little bit disappointed, but we did the best we
can — there’s nothing else we can do," Reyes said.

He said the Retirement Fund hasn’t been advised by the
government when the money would be available.

As of yesterday, health providers and pharmacies such as PHI
Pharmacy at the Commonwealth Health Center were still providing services and
medicine to GHLIP members.

But a PHI employee said they are not sure if they would still
give out medicine today as they were advised to wait for an order from
management.

Hawaii Pacific Health, which represents Kapiolani Health, Straub
Clinic & Hospital and Wilcox Health, has already advised Hawaii Pacific
Medical Referral that they will not take patients from the CNMI if they don’t
pay in cash.

"We regret this action but have no choice given the
financial realities. If CNMI can quickly resolve the outstanding financial
issues, we will immediately rescind this requirement," Hawaii Pacific
Health Vice President David Wood said.

Reyes said over 50 percent of the amount owed to health
providers was spent on medicines or pharmaceuticals.

He said the government and its employees’ contributions are up
to date, but the medical expenses of GHLIP members have exceeded collections.

Hawaii Pacific Medical Referral wanted to be paid $500,000 by 4
p.m. yesterday.

The CNMI owes Hawaii Pacific Medical Referral over $2.3 million
in payments for February alone. 

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