The Northern Marianas government is bracing for a hike in health premiums for government employees in the next calendar year.
One estimate is healthcare benefits would increase premiums by 43 percent.
For the current calendar year, the CNMI government is paying its service provider Aetna about 18 million US dollars.
Half of that is paid by the government, as the employer, and the other half by workers or retirees.
Aetna's contract finishes at the end of the month and it has not bid for it to be renewed but two other firms have placed subtantially higher bids.