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Last updateSat, 24 Mar 2018 12am







    Saturday, March 24, 2018-9:32:38A.M.






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CHCC and insurance companies may sign agreement on Jan. 1

NEGOTIATIONS between the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and health insurance companies went well, according to CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna who said they may sign an agreement on Jan. 1, 2018.

She said she had a “good discussion” recently with Calvo’s Insurance, Staywell and TakeCare.

“The meeting…was the most productive we’ve ever had. A lot of times when we sat down it was all about ‘Give us a discount’ so we ended up not signing an insurance agreement,” Muna said.

Esther MunaEsther Muna

“I think what was discussed [recently] shows we are getting somewhere. We made it clear to the insurance company that we want to work with them.”

According to Muna, they asked, among other things, that the insurance firms install their own web-based real-time verification so it will be easier for CHCC to verify who their members are.

“What we asked them to do is to treat us like Guam. We want them to work with us. For example, give us the capability to do electronic billing. They already provide that to Guam. We have been asking for it for the longest time.”

Staywell, according to Muna, promised to get it done within a couple of weeks.

But she added that the insurance companies were still concerned about the new, higher room rates implemented by CHCC in October.

“We told them the rates will stay, but a discount will be provided if they pay promptly,” she said.

“We want prompt payments. Medicare and Aetna pay in 14 days. At least, tell us when are you going to pay us.”

She said CHCC will no longer allow payments made after 90 days or six months. “That will not be acceptable anymore.”

She added, “I think we will come to a good agreement. We will offer them a discount that is significant enough.”

During the meeting, Muna said, she stressed that CHCC has an obligation to survive and continue to be accessible to the community.

“We need to work with the insurance companies and they need to work with us. Without us they cannot exist in the CNMI.”