Second Protest Filed Over Guam Government Insurance Contracts

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TakeCare, SelectCare protesting violations of procurement laws

By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Aug. 23, 2012) – There are now two protests on record in the competition for the government of Guam health insurance contract, which costs about $71 million this year and affects about 12,000 GovGuam members.

The current health insurance provider for the government of Guam, Calvo's SelectCare, announced yesterday it has filed a protest because two competitors were allowed to modify their proposals after the submission deadline had passed. The deadline to submit offers was June 27.

TakeCare Insurance Co. was the first out of four companies competing for the contract to question the evaluation process and allege violations of procurement law.

SelectCare states in its protest letter to the Department of Administration that allowing TakeCare and another competitor to change their proposals after the deadline "is a blatant violation of Guam's procurement law and undermines the integrity of the procurement process."

SelectCare stated it is asking the negotiating team to abide by the law and conduct contract negotiations only with those health insurance providers that submitted responsive proposals before the Request for Proposals deadline.

Negotiations for GovGuam's health insurance contract for fiscal 2013 were halted after TakeCare protested on Aug. 8. TakeCare had received a letter that it has moved on to the negotiations phase, but on the same day its negotiations with the GovGuam team were to start, the company received a retraction letter from the government.

TakeCare's protest letter mentions Assistant Attorney General John Weisenberger as having allegedly acknowledged that GovGuam's negotiating team hadn't reviewed the offers competently.

Meanwhile, SelectCare stated it was illegal for the GovGuam negotiating team to allow TakeCare and a second competitor to revise their proposals past submission deadline.

"The integrity of the procurement process suffers when rules established to maintain fairness and equity are disregarded," according to SelectCare.

SelectCare stated that GovGuam "should proceed to negotiate with the remaining qualified offerors."

In response to the bid protest filed by SelectCare, TakeCare issued a statement saying it "denies any wrongdoing whatsoever."

"In fact, the 'modified' filings that Calvo's SelectCare maintains were in violation of the bid laws, were submitted at the request of (administration department) officials from the Calvo administration," according to TakeCare. "It is morally and legally wrong for Calvo administration officials to request that TakeCare submit 'modified' filings, and then have Calvo's SelectCare argue that TakeCare should be disqualified for doing so."

TakeCare stated the bid protests filed by SelectCare and TakeCare do substantiate one important point.

"That point being the (administration department) officials in the Calvo administration have grossly mishandled the bidding process for GovGuam health insurance," according to TakeCare.

The best course of action at this point is to set aside the entire bid process and start over, said Jeff Larsen, TakeCare chief operating officer.

SelectCare and TakeCare have been selected to offer health insurance to federal government employees beginning in January 2013, both companies announced separately recently. TakeCare is a returning provider, while SelectCare's federal contract is new.

The GovGuam health insurance contract involves about 12,000 members, including employees, retirees and survivors of deceased retirees.

The federal government has about 4,000 employees on Guam.

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