Health Insurance  

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LisaAnn1014
(@LisaAnn1014)
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July 19, 2017 8:35 pm  

I'm considering moving to ST. Croix in the next few years. I can't seem to find a straight answer on health insurance in USVI.

As a US Citizen, can I find a plan that will cover me as an individual?


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Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
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July 19, 2017 8:50 pm  

No.


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LisaAnn1014
(@LisaAnn1014)
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July 19, 2017 8:56 pm  

Scubadoo, Do you know if I open a small business, would I be able to get it that way if I get a business plan or would I have to be a VI citizen to do that?


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Scubadoo
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July 19, 2017 9:12 pm  

US citizen == VI citizen. You're a VI resident after 180 days or something like that. There are other discussions on the forum regarding folks getting group insurance with two people in their business. You can apply for a business license with DLCA as soon as you arrive.


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quirion
(@quirion)
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July 20, 2017 2:33 am  

If your business includes 2 or more you can find health insurance.


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vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
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July 20, 2017 11:21 am  

If your business includes 2 or more you can find health insurance.

But at what price? I contacted the new Elan Insurance company a few weeks ago and got a quote for my wife and I who own a small business.

I was totally shocked at the monthly rate quoted at approximately $1600 a MONTH.

Currently, I'm paying about $1800 every QUARTER through Cigna Global.

To say I was shocked was an understatement.


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quirion
(@quirion)
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July 20, 2017 11:28 am  

We got off Elan as soon as possible. We're with UHC now and at 1k a month. It ain't cheap.
You get Cigna Global due to canadian citizenship right? But they aren't accepting new policies?


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speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
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July 20, 2017 11:28 am  

wow, that is huge


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LisaAnn1014
(@LisaAnn1014)
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July 20, 2017 11:51 am  

It's almost worth it just to open a savings account and put aside what you would be paying for insurance monthly. If or when something happens, you have the money there.


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Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
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July 20, 2017 2:01 pm  

It's almost worth it just to open a savings account and put aside what you would be paying for insurance monthly. If or when something happens, you have the money there.

Certainly true for most of the time - except catastrophic emergencies.
It takes discipline to save it though and not access it for other things.


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LisaAnn1014
(@LisaAnn1014)
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July 20, 2017 2:12 pm  

Is there a reason why there is not individual plans available?


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islandjoan
(@islandjoan)
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July 20, 2017 2:23 pm  

Because the Lt. Governor Potter, under whose purview lies the regulation of insurance in the VI, is too busy traveling and liming to do anything about the lack of individual insurance in the VI.

As a matter of fact, if I remember correctly, he traveled to Bermuda recently, under the auspices of trying to lure more insurance companies here. Haven't looked it up to confirm whether my memory is correct.

Is there a reason why there is not individual plans available?


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ms411
(@ms411)
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July 20, 2017 2:29 pm  

There aren't individual policies because no insurance company wants to write them for a number of reasons. The market doesn't have enough young healthy people who could afford private insurance to offset those who aren't as healthy.


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islandjoan
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July 20, 2017 2:30 pm  

I had to look it up. Yes he did travel to Bermuda, OSTENSIBLY to convince health insurance companies based in Bermuda to offer packages to residents in the US VI. still waiting for news about THAT

Potters junket on our dime


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islandjoan
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July 20, 2017 2:32 pm  

Yes that is the other reason, because a large percentage of the local population has either diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease.

There aren't individual policies because no insurance company wants to write them for a number of reasons. The market doesn't have enough young healthy people who could afford private insurance to offset those who aren't as healthy.


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vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
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July 20, 2017 2:39 pm  

We got off Elan as soon as possible. We're with UHC now and at 1k a month. It ain't cheap.
You get Cigna Global due to canadian citizenship right? But they aren't accepting new policies?

Yes...it is true that I am a Canadian citizen but soon to be an American and Canadian dual citizen.

I have heard that Cigna Global is not writing any more policies in the VI but they did recently renew mine again.


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LisaAnn1014
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July 20, 2017 6:36 pm  

When you move to STX, at what point can you apply for Medicare or Medicade?


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East Ender
(@east-ender)
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July 20, 2017 9:31 pm  

Medicare is federally funded insurance for "the elderly"- if you have worked the number of quarters they require (40, I believe), it becomes your insurance when you are 65. You can also buy Medi-gap insurance to pay for the co-pays, etc. that Medicare doesn't pay. There are no Advantage programs in the USVI. Traditional Medicare is portable; you can take it anywhere in the US.

Medicaid (called Medical Assistance here) is a joint federal-state funded program for "low income" people. You have to be a resident and meet financial requirements. The local government struggles to pay its percentage, basically depending on the largesse of the Feds. Medicaid is not portable; if you qualify in the states, you have to reapply here, and vice-versa.

As an aside, Medical Assistance used to pay for the long-term care of a large percentage of the residents of Seaview. Because they were shutdown, long-term care is in a huge mess. Medicare paid for short-term rehab and skilled nursing stays at Seaview. Again, the loss of that resource has caused ripples (actually waves) throughout the territory. Queen Louise and Herbert Grigg are run by the territory without Medicare/Medicaid funds.


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VIPCA- VI Professional Charter Association
(@VIPCA-_VI_Professional_Charter_Association)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1
July 24, 2017 5:52 pm  

Do you work in the marine industry onboard a yacht or boat? If so you can access Health Insurance when you become a member of VIPCA (Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association).

The insurance experts at Gowrie Group offer VIPCA members a comprehensive health insurance program which is underwritten by IMG. With 24/7 medical management services, multilingual claims administrators, highly trained customer service professionals, access to the USVI United Health Care Network, and coverage tailored to the marine industry, this health insurance plan brings VIPCA members the products and services they need. The program is managed by Gowrie Group, the largest marine insurance company in the US. Gowrie provides VIPCA members deep expertise, health insurance programs for sailors, and broad capabilities in insuring charter yachts and managing marine risks in the Caribbean.

To learn more about the Health Insurance Program for VIPCA members contact Rick Bagnall at 860.391.7161, visit www.gowrie.com/VIPCAhealth, or email vipca@gowrie.com.


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Alana33
(@Alana33)
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July 24, 2017 7:24 pm  

Now that I'm in FL, I finally have both Healthcare and Dental Insurance.
I signed up under the Affordable Care Act before the end of December, tho I didn't actually move until the end of January. I love it!
My monthly bill for healthcare insurance is $278.
My Dental insurance runs $28 per month.
When I saw the doctor, my fee was $155 plus tax and my copay was $2.
I've had lab work and x rays, which, so far, my insurance has covered.

The decision for my move from the VI/STT was based on 2 things:
1. Being closer to aging family and other members.
2. Affordable and Accessible healthcare insurance.

I might add that I've been fortunate not to have had to wait more than 10 minutes to see doctor or have any tests done.
There are no long lines at my bank, (I've not yet taken more than 5 minutes to accomplish a deposit or withdrawal), at the grocery stores, Home Depot or any other places I've shopped. Haven't seen nor felt a single pothole, the electricity, internet has been consistently reliable and less expensive than in the VI and roadsides are garbage free and beautifully maintained.

So far, so good.


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Fishbait
(@Fishbait)
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Posts: 204
July 27, 2017 4:20 pm  

Lisa Ann, yeah not only that but the weird thing is cash customers pay more while insurance companies negotiate better rates for their in-network providers.


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vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
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Posts: 2356
July 28, 2017 12:05 pm  

Lisa Ann, yeah not only that but the weird thing is cash customers pay more while insurance companies negotiate better rates for their in-network providers.

That's the opposite of my experiences. I've always got a good discount for paying cash to health care providers in the VI.


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STTsailor
(@STTsailor)
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Posts: 521
July 28, 2017 3:02 pm  

Lisa Ann, yeah not only that but the weird thing is cash customers pay more while insurance companies negotiate better rates for their in-network providers.

That's the opposite of my experiences. I've always got a good discount for paying cash to health care providers in the VI.

While one can negotiate cash payment with an office based provider the professional component of medical services is a small potato. It is the facility (hospital) charges where the rack rates for uninsured are just gruesome. So just a simple surgery like appendectomy or fracture repair can cost $50,000 and up in facility (hospital) charges while the professional charge will be $1500-2500.

While this is generally not a problem for these with no assets anybody else with a job, house and some savings should be cautious proceeding without insurance as hospitals became very aggressive with collections. While the cost to insurance company for the same service will only be 10-20% of the rack rate.


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