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Medicare use on STT

TKB12
October 10, 2016 12:33PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 5

We will be visiting STT next month for our first visit, and hoping to relocate in approximately 2 years - when eligible for Medicare health insurance. We are also looking into purchasing long term care coverage and found a policy that covers STT (and other US territories). Does anyone know of any problems using Medicare on STT? And, are there many facilities in the event one of us would need nursing home care or assisted living (or in-home care)? We are only in our 60's and not likely to need nursing home/assisted living care for a long time, but I thought I would inquire about the current state of these facilities on the STT. Thank you.

Re: Medicare use on STT

Islander
October 10, 2016 08:32PM

Admin

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 1,159

Hello TKB12,

Welcome to the VIMovingCenter.com message board.

As far as using Medicare, some doctors will take it and a few do not; so you have to call around and find the doctors that do.

There are not many options for nursing home/assisted living care. There is the Queen Louise Home for the Elderly, which is for low-income seniors [lssvi.org]. The other facility is Sea View, and it is in a troubled place right now, you can follow that situation in the newspaper, here is a recent article [stthomassource.com].

Hopefully someone more familiar can add some information... and answer some questions I am including... the new senior living building in Sugar Estate is it being used? What is the name? I am pretty sure I remember reading it was affordable senior housing through VI Housing Authority, just wondering if its finished.

Re: Medicare use on STT

Alana33
October 10, 2016 08:51PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,580

Islander,

I believe it's finished or at least has begun to be occupied but as with anything dealing with VIHA, you've got to be on a waiting list and qualified to be accepted into the development/program.

There really are no fully functional "retirement facilities" in the VI as you'd have in the states.

Re: Medicare use on STT

TKB12
October 11, 2016 11:47AM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 5

Thank you to those who replied to my post. Sounds as if we would need to move back to the continental area if we ever needed to use a long term care policy. I guess we could find some "in-home" help if we just needed a little help. Hoping we still have some "good years" left in us to enjoy St. Thomas before we need to worry about using a long term care policy!

Re: Medicare use on STT

Afriend
October 11, 2016 12:33PM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 409

For what it is worth, spouse & I are senior citizens and we along with a great many of our "retired" friends be they "seniors" or not have made the decision that we will go back to the mainland if we are in need of any "serious" medical services or long term care. It's just part of the price we (you) pay when retiring to the Caribbean.

Re: Medicare use on STT

TKB12
October 15, 2016 11:12AM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 5

Thanks, Afriend, for the the reply. All information is helpful. Since health care is such a big part of life for seniors, I felt that I needed to ask some questions before we actually moved to St. Thomas. Do you mind if I ask if you have Medicare and if so, can you find good local doctors? I am only 61 and have had a lot of health issues since a much younger age. I would need a primary care and an endocrinologist (good ones are even difficult difficult to find in US, at least they are here in Colorado).

Another question, unrelated. Is it easy to make new friends on St. Thomas if you don't know anyone and are in your 60s? We are hoping to find a "community" feel somewhere on the island. Is there a part of the island that would lend itself to making some good friends? We don't want to live on the water (I'm afraid of flooding), and have heard that the North Side of the island is nice.

Re: Medicare use on STT

Islander
October 16, 2016 12:30AM

Admin

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 1,159

Quote
TKB12
Is it easy to make new friends on St. Thomas if you don't know anyone and are in your 60s? We are hoping to find a "community" feel somewhere on the island. Is there a part of the island that would lend itself to making some good friends? We don't want to live on the water (I'm afraid of flooding), and have heard that the North Side of the island is nice.

Hello TKB12,

The northside of St. Thomas is largely residential, with some commercial aspects like a few restaurants, a couple tourist attractions, golf course, but generally speaking mostly residential. The reference "northside" basically covers the entire top half of the island minus the western and eastern ends. As such it includes a number of estates. Estates were the way the islands were divided up during Danish colonial times, plantation estates; and many of those estate names remain and are still in use today. So within northside you have the more western end with Estate Caret Bay, Nelteberg... then moving eastward... Dorothea, Hull Bay, Lerkenlund, Mafolie... toward Magens Bay where you have Wintberg, Rosendahl etc. You will have some areas that are on the hills... and some down toward the bays/ocean. There aren't many options for living right on the water on the northside; as in right on the beach - there are some houses a short distance up the hillsides, very close to the water. Rather than flooding - the bigger concern is salt damage all the time; and wind during a storm with being very close to the sea. Flooding from rain can affect in-land areas depending on drainage on your property and how it and neighboring properties are developed.

Sticking with northside and addressing your other question... the northside includes all age groups, mixed residential situation would be an appropriate term. So your neighbors could be your age group... they could be older, and they could be a young family with small children. And you could be friends with all of them. I was thinking maybe the condos have less diversity of age, and maybe a greater concentration of retirees but I am not sure that is accurate - I think its still a mixture. But perhaps because the condos are close together in a building and have shared amenities they would lend themselves better to meeting the neighbors vs. traditional houses which are somewhat spread out.

The recommendation to meeting people would be to get involved... in social groups, volunteer organizations, clubs, hobbies etc.

Thank you for using VIMovingCenter.com.

Re: Medicare use on STT

East Ender
October 16, 2016 10:38AM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 4,846

TKB: Using Medicare is easy here. There are several internists and GPs to chose from. There is only one endocrinologist, Dr. Barzey. One of the issues with medical care here is limited options for specialists. There are lots of orthopedic surgeons,but no rheumatologists, for example. Specialty surgeons (cardiac, neuro, etc.) are non-existent.

I feel that there is much more mixing socially of people from different backgrounds,ages,socioeconomic status, etc. When I lived in the states, I only hung around with people close in age and background. Here, you find yourself around many sorts of folk...

Re: Medicare use on STT

TKB12
October 23, 2016 11:56AM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 5

Thanks, everyone, for the helpful information. We're looking forward to our first visit to St. Thomas 2 weeks from today. So much to learn about the island - not just for the first visit, but when thinking about retiring there. This forum is a great tool. We purchased the Settler's Guide and that has provided a lot of information also.

We live in Denver and have high costs for housing, but we are getting shocked by the high prices for so many things on St. Thomas. Have been looking at the internet for good, inexpensive (HA!) restaurants on STT. We'll be staying in downtown area, so am hoping we can find some that won't break the bank!

Re: medical specialists, they can be difficult to get an appointment with here in Denver. The wait time for an endocrinologist (a good one) is 9-12 months.

Re: Medicare use on STT

Idlewood4
October 23, 2016 07:25PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 82

Welcome! I'm 60 and just relocated to STT in May for my job. It's a huge transition, and you need to be adaptable. Many things are different here, than stateside.

I've been told if I feel sick get on a plane out of here fast. I kept my doctors in the states, and have gone back for followup appointments. You mention seeing an endocrinologist. I am type 2 diabetic and on Trulicity, a new drug. I can't get it here on the island without the pharmacy special ordering it. Even stateside it was over 300 a month with insurance, but I was able to mail order it for $105. for a 90 day supply. Because it's shipped on ice packs, CVS Caremark will not ship it here to STT. I have no problems getting pills shipped here, but insulin and Trulicity I have sent to my son, who then gets it to me.

Just something else to keep in mind.

Feel free to message me with any other questions, I'm glad to help if I can. I found this forum and the Settler's Guide tremendously helpful. Also read the local papers, they can give you a good feel for what's happening around the island.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/23/2016 07:27PM by Idlewood4.

Re: Medicare use on STT

Gator's Mom
October 25, 2016 08:23AM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 689

Here's what I've found out about Medicare access in the VI.

There are no Advantage plans available at all including special needs.

You have the choice of traditional Medicare (part A and part B).

Additionally you have the choice of AARP supplement plans and one AARP part D plan for drug coverage.

Original Medicare transfers, no problem.

An AARP rep let us know there is a trail of PAPERWORK needed to access their supplement plans and part D in the VI. Once you have a move date and a mailing address, call AARP for the next steps.

Re: Medicare use on STT

watruw8ing4
October 25, 2016 11:31AM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 849

Quote
Gator's Mom
Here's what I've found out about Medicare access in the VI.

There are no Advantage plans available at all including special needs.

You have the choice of traditional Medicare (part A and part B).

Additionally you have the choice of AARP supplement plans and one AARP part D plan for drug coverage.

Original Medicare transfers, no problem.

An AARP rep let us know there is a trail of PAPERWORK needed to access their supplement plans and part D in the VI. Once you have a move date and a mailing address, call AARP for the next steps.

The AARP paperwork is for getting a policy specific to the VI. If you already carry it stateside, it's no big deal. My husband did it all over the phone in about 15 minutes (after actually getting through to a person).

Re: Medicare use on STT

TKB12
October 28, 2016 02:29PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 5

I checked with my Medicare supplement policy and it will pay on STT as long as Medicare pays/approves a claim. I don't know if part D plans are different. I'm guessing you have to find one after you move to STT. Premiums are based on zip code and state.

Re: Medicare use on STT

watruw8ing4
October 29, 2016 10:04AM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 849

Quote
TKB12
I checked with my Medicare supplement policy and it will pay on STT as long as Medicare pays/approves a claim. I don't know if part D plans are different. I'm guessing you have to find one after you move to STT. Premiums are based on zip code and state.

Just a caution. While your policy will cover you while visiting STT, did it specifically state it would cover you once you become a resident here? As far as I know, if you obtain coverage on your own, you would have to get a new policy here once you become a resident, and AARP is the only one who offers it (thru UHC).

Somebody correct me if I'm wrong. I'd love to be able to shop around. No company I checked except UHC offered Supplemental in the VI when my husband got his 2 years ago.

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