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Health Insurance woes

MayaN
September 11, 2016 03:11PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 64

Hi! My husband and I are seriously considering relocating to St.X... he spent quite a bit of time there as a child, and his sister still visits there fairly frequently. We have not made a PMV, may or may not... we did recently honeymoon in the Caribbean. We are planning to save at least 30K each, before moving to the island, because my husband just wants to make sure we have "options." He is a licensed massage therapist, I am a licensed marriage counselor. We are middle class people, thus far without much savings. We are both in private practice in Nevada, but of course we do not expect to launch private practices in St. X right away... we would be working as employees at first.

We've done quite a bit of research... everything from how to handle pest control, to the predicted sea level rise over the next 30 years, and how that will potentially effect St.X. We are in process of reading the USVI Settler's Guide, and this forum has already been incredibly helpful. Our main sticking point at present seems to be HEALTH INSURANCE.

We are in our early 50's, healthy, with no kids. Here in Nevada, we have BCBS, and rarely use it, but we like the security of knowing it's there if we need it. We have no serious health conditions, but I do have some minor ones. We realize our BCBS will not transfer to St. Croix, and (as I understand it), we would not be able to get health insurance there, unless our employer offered it... so here are my questions...

~ how many employers offer health insurance? Is it a routine thing, or is it a rarity?
~ how do people without health insurance justify living there, if they are not independently wealthy? Do they just cross their fingers that they won't need to be hospitalized, or is there some piece of the puzzle I'm not understanding? I would appreciate hearing different perspectives on the concept of living one's life with no health insurance.
~ does anyone know of any way to get individual (non employer) health insurance on the island, that's not outrageously expensive? We did already read the one long post on this topic, but we're looking for a doable personal solution (if there IS one), not so much an analysis of the problem and long term solutions for the territory as a whole.

All comments welcome and MANY thanks for your time!! Maya

Re: Health Insurance woes

susan56
September 11, 2016 03:26PM

Registered: 7 years ago
Posts: 147

Our BC/BS was accepted on stx.

Re: Health Insurance woes

Alana33
September 11, 2016 03:45PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 11,674

How long ago was that?

Re: Health Insurance woes

Gator's Mom
September 11, 2016 06:46PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 749

BCBS insurance will continue to be accepted on STX even though policies are no longer sold. My BCBS is from FL and has a worldwide list of providers including many on
STX. It's possible to use COBRA from a previous job if accepted in the VI. Read your policy - COBRA could work until you're established on the island.

Re: Health Insurance woes

OldTart
September 11, 2016 07:07PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 6,524

Quote
Gator's Mom
BCBS insurance will continue to be accepted on STX even though policies are no longer sold.

Only until August 1, 2017.

"Blue Cross must honor existing policies until August 1, 2017, at which time most of them will have expired. It also is required to turn its portfolio over to another company (or companies." This was discussed at length in the previous thread.

As far as "acceptance" goes, several physicians already opted to decline BCBS coverage due to a pile-up of unpaid claims.

Re: Health Insurance woes

Gator's Mom
September 11, 2016 07:15PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 749

my BCBS is a FL policy that is accepted worldwide. It has nothing to do with local well ... BS. Most docs and both hospitals will continue to accept. It is not contingent on where I live.

OP should read his/her policy.

Re: Health Insurance woes

OldTart
September 11, 2016 07:26PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 6,524

Quote
Gator's Mom
my BCBS is a FL policy that is accepted worldwide. It has nothing to do with local well ... BS. Most docs and both hospitals will continue to accept. It is not contingent on where I live.

Then maybe you could please provide the BCBS FL contact information for all the people here looking for individual health coverage so they can take advantage of it.

Re: Health Insurance woes

Gator's Mom
September 11, 2016 07:44PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 749

I'm porting it in as a retiree from a large enterprise.

Re: Health Insurance woes

MayaN
September 11, 2016 09:23PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 64

thank you so much! i will call my BCBS rep. Only reason I didn't do that first is because I had read somewhere (I forget where, it all begins to become a blur of info at some point) that almost everyone in St. X is living without health insurance, unless they are lucky enough to find an employer who provides it. Did not realize that my existing BCBS would be usable in the USVI, till 2017 or perhaps indefinitely. Will report back what I find out, in case other readers find it helpful. I should clarify, we have independent BCBS, not thru an employer, we are primarily self employed.

Re: Health Insurance woes

watruw8ing4
September 12, 2016 01:11PM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 850

There's a little bit of possible misinformation or misunderstanding in these posts:

Since you are not covered under an employer plan, you are not eligible for COBRA.

Someone enrolled in a BCBS plan in the states will not lose the ability to have claims in the VI reimbursed if their coverage allows it. The statement above about having policies honored til 8/2017 refers to the servicing of VI policy-holders. (Although some providers may decide to no longer participate). You may have to submit claims on your own, you may not get reimbursed at the same rate, you may owe more than you would have if the provider participates, and/or you may have certain types of coverage excluded or limited here (for instance, prescriptions, outpatient psych visits). It all depends on what your personal coverage specifies.

You can't hang on to an individual BCBS policy in the states once you are no longer considered a resident of that state (unless you want to be under the fraud microscope). Your residency is used to determine what BCBS plan you can belong to. You can't just buy a policy in Florida if you live here, or in another state or region.

Re: Health Insurance woes

LuckyGirl56
September 12, 2016 01:23PM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 330

And just for the record, it's STX, not St. X.

Re: Health Insurance woes

watruw8ing4
September 12, 2016 01:43PM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 850

Quote
LuckyGirl56
And just for the record, it's STX, not St. X.

Or, you can think outside the box: "Croix" meaning "cross", and an "X" being one recognized representation of said cross . . . .

Or, maybe just auto-correct doing its thing.

Or . . . .

Re: Health Insurance woes
avatar

Dante
September 12, 2016 02:20PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 253

Quote
watruw8ing4
There's a little bit of possible misinformation or misunderstanding in these posts:

Since you are not covered under an employer plan, you are not eligible for COBRA.

Someone enrolled in a BCBS plan in the states will not lose the ability to have claims in the VI reimbursed if their coverage allows it. The statement above about having policies honored til 8/2017 refers to the servicing of VI policy-holders. (Although some providers may decide to no longer participate). You may have to submit claims on your own, you may not get reimbursed at the same rate, you may owe more than you would have if the provider participates, and/or you may have certain types of coverage excluded or limited here (for instance, prescriptions, outpatient psych visits). It all depends on what your personal coverage specifies.

You can't hang on to an individual BCBS policy in the states once you are no longer considered a resident of that state (unless you want to be under the fraud microscope). Your residency is used to determine what BCBS plan you can belong to. You can't just buy a policy in Florida if you live here, or in another state or region.

thumbs up

Re: Health Insurance woes

Gator's Mom
September 12, 2016 02:25PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 749

Quote
watruw8ing4
There's a little bit of possible misinformation or misunderstanding in these posts:

Since you are not covered under an employer plan, you are not eligible for COBRA.

Someone enrolled in a BCBS plan in the states will not lose the ability to have claims in the VI reimbursed if their coverage allows it. The statement above about having policies honored til 8/2017 refers to the servicing of VI policy-holders. (Although some providers may decide to no longer participate). You may have to submit claims on your own, you may not get reimbursed at the same rate, you may owe more than you would have if the provider participates, and/or you may have certain types of coverage excluded or limited here (for instance, prescriptions, outpatient psych visits). It all depends on what your personal coverage specifies.

You can't hang on to an individual BCBS policy in the states once you are no longer considered a resident of that state (unless you want to be under the fraud microscope). Your residency is used to determine what BCBS plan you can belong to. You can't just buy a policy in Florida if you live here, or in another state or region.

You may be able to get a travel insurance policy to hold you over until you can secure health insurance in the VI. I think travel policies are good up to a year but have pre-existing condition limitations.

BTW - a recent VI Source article stated the uninsured population is estimated at 5,000 persons.

Re: Health Insurance woes

OldTart
September 12, 2016 02:48PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 6,524

Quote
Gator's Mom

BTW - a recent VI Source article stated the uninsured population is estimated at 5,000 persons.

In 2009 (and individual health insurance coverage has always been an issue here) it was estimated that close to 30% of the population was uninsured which would be about 30,000. That 5000 figure was a very conservative estimate and didn't include those covered under Medicaid and Medicare.

Re: Health Insurance woes

MayaN
September 12, 2016 06:25PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 64

Quote
LuckyGirl56
And just for the record, it's STX, not St. X.

I usually write it as STX, but sometimes I write St.X, just depends how I'm thinking at the moment I guess, but is there a reason why the small distinction would be remotely important?

Re: Health Insurance woes

MayaN
September 12, 2016 06:29PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 64

Quote
watruw8ing4
There's a little bit of possible misinformation or misunderstanding in these posts:

Since you are not covered under an employer plan, you are not eligible for COBRA.

Someone enrolled in a BCBS plan in the states will not lose the ability to have claims in the VI reimbursed if their coverage allows it. The statement above about having policies honored til 8/2017 refers to the servicing of VI policy-holders. (Although some providers may decide to no longer participate).

Oh! Thanks for the clarification!!

Re: Health Insurance woes

MayaN
September 12, 2016 06:32PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 64

You may be able to get a travel insurance policy to hold you over until you can secure health insurance in the VI. I think travel policies are good up to a year but have pre-existing condition limitations.

Brilliant idea, thanks for the input!

Re: Health Insurance woes

Spartygrad95
September 12, 2016 06:35PM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 1,884

Quote
MayaN
You may be able to get a travel insurance policy to hold you over until you can secure health insurance in the VI. I think travel policies are good up to a year but have pre-existing condition limitations.

Brilliant idea, thanks for the input!

Tried that route. Like expat insurance they wouldn't cover because we were still "traveling" technically in the US

Re: Health Insurance woes

watruw8ing4
September 12, 2016 09:56PM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 850

Quote
MayaN
Quote
LuckyGirl56
And just for the record, it's STX, not St. X.

I usually write it as STX, but sometimes I write St.X, just depends how I'm thinking at the moment I guess, but is there a reason why the small distinction would be remotely important?

It's not. We all knew you weren't referring to St.T. It demonstrates free thinking. Good for you.

Re: Health Insurance woes

Gator's Mom
September 13, 2016 08:09AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 749

Quote
Spartygrad95
Quote
MayaN
You may be able to get a travel insurance policy to hold you over until you can secure health insurance in the VI. I think travel policies are good up to a year but have pre-existing condition limitations.

Brilliant idea, thanks for the input!

Tried that route. Like expat insurance they wouldn't cover because we were still "traveling" technically in the US


Travel insurance is readily available for travel within the US. With one airline, you have to decline it before you complete your reservation.

Re: Health Insurance woes

caribstx
September 13, 2016 08:20AM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 424

Why do you think you need health insurance? If you're young and healthy, why bother. The VI offers you the opportunity to save that money you would have wasted on premiums.

I think there is considerably more than 5000 people here without health insurance.

There likely more than 5000 drivers in the VI without car insurance.

Re: Health Insurance woes

OldTart
September 13, 2016 08:26AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 6,524

Quote
Gator's Mom
Travel insurance is readily available for travel within the US. With one airline, you have to decline it before you complete your reservation.

I think we all know that. It is NOT a substitute nor can be used for health insurance coverage for VI residents. The more you throw out this tangential misinformation the more confusing you make it for potential newcomers.

Re: Health Insurance woes

Gator's Mom
September 13, 2016 09:09AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 749

Quote
OldTart
Quote
Gator's Mom
Travel insurance is readily available for travel within the US. With one airline, you have to decline it before you complete your reservation.

I think we all know that. It is NOT a substitute nor can be used for health insurance coverage for VI residents. The more you throw out this tangential misinformation the more confusing you make it for potential newcomers.


As a Band-Aid to get to real health insurance it works just fine. This couple will not be considered VI bona fide residents for months after relocating. Many hoops to jump through, particularly if they follow your advice to leave their stuff in storage in the US.

Of course it's not a solution.

Re: Health Insurance woes

OldTart
September 13, 2016 09:28AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 6,524

Quote
Gator's Mom
Quote
OldTart
Quote
Gator's Mom
Travel insurance is readily available for travel within the US. With one airline, you have to decline it before you complete your reservation.

I think we all know that. It is NOT a substitute nor can be used for health insurance coverage for VI residents. The more you throw out this tangential misinformation the more confusing you make it for potential newcomers.


As a Band-Aid to get to real health insurance it works just fine. This couple will not be considered VI bona fide residents for months after relocating. Many hoops to jump through, particularly if they follow your advice to leave their stuff in storage in the US.

Of course it's not a solution.

1. Extended travel insurance is limited by most carriers to 30-45 days for any one trip with a mere few offering coverage in one stretch up to 90 days.

2. I assume your remark about the advice to leave large personal belongings in storage (frequently echoed here over the years and certainly not something I dreamed up) relates to the sometimes-used clarification of "bona fide resident" which - amongst many other factors - sees the shipment of personal belongings as intent to stay. Not shipping a huge amount of personal belongings is absolutely no impediment to obtaining bona fide US residency. I'm sure that as a prospective VI resident you know the conditions attached to claiming residency.

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