Aetna aims for ‘least disruptive’ transition

NETCARE: The NetCare Life & Health Insurance offices at the Julale Shopping Center in Hagåtña are shown in this photograph. The local insurance company's network will be used by Aetna International, which was chosen to be the exclusive health insurance provider for government of Guam employees and retirees, and their families. Post file photo

Aetna International representatives are back on Guam as they work with the government of Guam to finalize the fiscal 2020 government health insurance contract and prepare for open enrollment.

The company will use Moylan’s NetCare provider network.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to work with Aetna,” NetCare plan administrator Jerry Crisostomo said during an interview on The Point.

“Aetna is not new to the market. They currently ensure the Micronesia Mall, American Bakery, and their largest client in the region is the CNMI government,” he said.

The company, founded in 1853 in Hartford, Connecticut, had tried three other times to become the insurance carrier for the government of Guam. This fourth attempt proved successful.

Aetna's GovGuam members will be able to access any providers that have a contract with NetCare.

“Our goal is to make this as seamless, transparent and least disruptive to GovGuam members across the board,” Crisostomo said.

He said this means expanded health care access in the Philippines, because Aetna is tied to Maxicare, the largest insurance carrier in the Philippines, with a vast array of doctors and medical facilities not just in Manila but across the country.

“GovGuam members will have more choices than they have today,” he said.

Customer service center at Julale

The Aetna team arrived on Guam this week and is preparing for open enrollment, which will be announced by the Department of Administration.

Crisostomo said NetCare will be paid an administrative fee to administer things including Aetna’s wellness programs and customer service.

He said there will be a customer service center at the Julale Shopping Center to handle inquiries, but said Aetna is a 24/7 operation and customers can go online for assistance or call a toll-free number.

“I know that the GovGuam account, I guess, gives them the opportunity to invest in this region, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if they had a full-blown office,” said Crisostomo.

And because Aetna is a subsidiary of CVS Health Corp., its presence could even bring additional pharmaceutical resources to the island.

“I believe there is an opportunity for Aetna to really expand their reach not only on Guam but in the region. I believe that opens a great opportunity for them,” he said.

The value of the fiscal 2020 health insurance contract has yet to be revealed, but an audit released last year pegged the government's cost at $76.3 million.