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HealthCare International

 
STXBob
(@STXBob)
Trusted Member

This will be of interest to people seeking individual healthcare insurance in the USVI. I have been in contact with Pam Larsen who lives on STT. She asked me to post the following on her behalf.

QUOTE
Hello, my name is Pam Larsen. I have found a very good health Insurance in HealthCare International http://www.healthcareinternational.com/ . It is an on-line and off shore Insurance company out of London. When my husband and I could not find a decent health insurance at a decent price in the Virgin Islands, I thought we would give it a try, if just for a year.

What a great Surprise. They are a great company, fabulous customer Service, they pay in a very timely manner and we have just been delighted with them.

My husband has had the insurance for 4 years, I just went on it last year when my "wonderful and caring" company pulled off the island and out of all U. S. Territories.

I have started a group of friends and family called the Virgin Islands Group. We have well over thirty members now (a member being per policy, not per person. Some of the policies have whole families under them). Because we have over 20 members, we all receive a 25% discount off our yearly policies. A huge savings. If you are interested in learning more about this you can give me a call at 340-775-1087 or email me at pam@pamxlarsen.com (remove the “x”). I also want you to know that I am not an agent for this company and do not work for them. I am just a very satisfied customer that wants to help others that were in the same boat as we were when we lost our insurance when Petersen International Underwriters Major Medical pulled out of the territory.

I will look forward to hearing from you.

Pam
UNQUOTE

My additional thoughts:

- To be clear, this is not a group policy. It is a group discount, with 25% off premiums because of the large number of members participating. Each member gets their own individual or family policy with the coverage and deductible terms that they choose.

- I spoke with Pam at length and she is very enthusiastic about her experience with HealthCare International. She describes herself as a huge skeptic, so she did a lot of research on the company and has been very happy with them. In addition, she’s heard no complaints from the other group members, who are all her friends, so she assumes they are also happy.

- Pam can give you a lot more info if you contact her. All of the group members so far are from STT/STJ, but STX people are also welcome to join. She’ll tell you how to get into the group discount. In particular, do NOT provide your email address when playing with their rate calculator, or you may have trouble joining the group later.

- As forum member CarlSTX pointed out in a separate thread a while ago, some of HealthCare International’s benefits do not comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare). Apparently that’s because they are not US-based, or possibly because USVI is not in the states, I’m not sure. In any case, Pam says that HealthCare International has so far honored the written terms of their policies, so you know what you’re getting.

- From what I can tell, HealthCare International is a legit insurance company that is worth considering for individual health insurance. If anybody here has additional experience with HealthCare International, please share it here.

- Like Pam, I am also not an agent or employee of HealthCare International.

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Topic starter Posted : August 3, 2012 1:02 am
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Thank you STX Bob for contacting Pam and getting the info directly from the source.
Hope the info will help others.
Have a feeling Pam will be inundated with calls!

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Posted : August 3, 2012 12:27 pm
Iris Tramm
(@Iris_Tramm)
Trusted Member

Do they exclude pre-existing conditions? Is there mental health care parity? Or is that the part about non-compliance with ObamaCare?

Thanks for any info.

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Posted : August 3, 2012 1:18 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

Do they exclude pre-existing conditions? Is there mental health care parity? Or is that the part about non-compliance with ObamaCare?

Thanks for any info.

Wouldn't that information be available on the linked website?

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Posted : August 3, 2012 1:34 pm
Iris Tramm
(@Iris_Tramm)
Trusted Member

Do they exclude pre-existing conditions? Is there mental health care parity? Or is that the part about non-compliance with ObamaCare?

Thanks for any info.

Wouldn't that information be available on the linked website?

Maybe. Maybe not. Seems more efficient to ask someone who has actually used the product to answer first.

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Posted : August 3, 2012 1:44 pm
STXBob
(@STXBob)
Trusted Member

There are some restrictions for pre-existing medical conditions. Please see their FAQ, question #4: http://www.healthcareinternational.com/faq.php?topic=medical

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Topic starter Posted : August 3, 2012 3:01 pm
STXBob
(@STXBob)
Trusted Member

Further to my previous post:

This is the only mention of mental health that I found on their website: http://www.healthcareinternational.com/how-to-claim.php where it says that pre-authorization is required for "Psychiatric, mental, nervous, alcohol, drug abuse disorders and speech therapy," among other things, so apparently mental health is covered to some degree.

Pam says, "They will negotiate with you regarding a pre-existing condition as long as you do it in the underwriting stage and not after you have accepted and paid." In Pam's husband's case, they covered a pre-existing condition for an extra fee.

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Topic starter Posted : August 3, 2012 3:21 pm
STXBob
(@STXBob)
Trusted Member

I'm still poking around, learning more about HealthCare International

I found this article http://www.stjohnsuntimes.com/node/11934 "Affordable Health Care" which appears to have been written within the past year or so.

It says, with emphasis added, "We run an article every year advising you of your choices in the marketplace and we must say, the choices get more and more limited every year... In fact we could only find one company that will extend policies to us and provide what we consider affordable health insurance."

That company is HealthCare International. See the article for sample quotes.

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Topic starter Posted : August 3, 2012 8:33 pm
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

Can you name some VI doctors who accept it?

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Posted : August 4, 2012 9:25 am
STXBob
(@STXBob)
Trusted Member

Can you name some VI doctors who accept it?

It appears that you can use almost any doctor, but I'll check further. In most cases, you will pay directly and get reimbursed later by HealthCare International. Some excerpts follow, with emphasis added.

From http://www.healthcareinternational.com/faq.php?topic=medical: "9. Do I have a choice where my medical treatment is provided? Members have complete choice where they have their treatment, and in the event of hospitalisation we will arrange for direct settlement with your provider – avoiding the need to pay any expenses yourself."

From http://www.healthcareinternational.com/pdf/international-health-insurance/international-health-insurance-brochure.pdf : All our plans give you the choice of where you have your treatment. With over 7,000 hospitals and 350,000 physicians and nursing staff in our network, you can choose almost any registered medical facility in the world (subject to your Plan’s Area or Cover Deductible and Benefit Levels).

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Topic starter Posted : August 4, 2012 12:33 pm
STXBob
(@STXBob)
Trusted Member

Pam says: You can go to any doctor you want. She prefers to bring the claim form to the appointment and get the doc's office to fill it out then, but you're still paying the doc up front and you (not the doc) are getting reimbursed by HCI later. You may also be able to get a discount from the doc because they don't have to go through the insurance company. Send your claim to HCI within 3 months of treatment, and HCI usually reimburses you within a month after that, by check or by wire transfer to your bank account.

I say: We have found that many doctors here charge more if you have insurance, but sometimes you can talk them into charging the non-insured rate. We have a high deductible with BUPA, so we tell the doc that we're paying everything out of pocket and BUPA will not reimburse us, so can we please have the lower non-insured rate, and they may agree. So the discount that Pam refers to may simply be the non-insured rate.

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Topic starter Posted : August 4, 2012 2:17 pm
VI Pam
(@VI_Pam)
New Member

6. VERY IMPORTANT: if you have pre-existing condition, HCI is open to negotiating this with the underwriters BEFORE all is said and done. For example, my husband was considered to have a pre-existing condition because he was on Lipitor. I asked them what we could do about this as a pre-existing condition. They charged us $125. extra to have the Pre-existing condition removed. Now they have him down as no pre-existing condition. In other words, you have to ask how to have the pre-existing removed while it is in the underwriting stage or it is too late. YOU HAVE TO ASK, THEY WILL NOT OFFER OR TELL YOU IF YOU DON'T ASK FIRST.

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Posted : August 4, 2012 3:32 pm
VI Pam
(@VI_Pam)
New Member

This is a company out of London. They do not have to adhere to any laws in the United States. You have the freedom to go on line and sign up for any insurance you wish. If this seems to work for you, you can sign up for it. Again, this is not a company from the U. S. but they do have their own governing board and have to adhere to the rules of their international board.

Again, on pre-existing conditions: 6. VERY IMPORTANT: if you have pre-existing condition, HCI is open to negotiating this with the underwriters BEFORE all is said and done. For example, Simon was considered to have a pre-existing condition because he was on Lipitor. I asked them what we could do about this as a pre-existing condition. They charged us $125. extra to have the Pre-existing condition removed. Now they have him down as no pre-existing condition. In other words, you have to ask how to have the pre-existing removed while it is in the underwriting stage or it is too late. YOU HAVE TO ASK, THEY WILL NOT OFFER OR TELL YOU IF YOU DON'T ASK FIRST.

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Posted : August 4, 2012 3:35 pm
swans
(@swans)
Trusted Member

6. VERY IMPORTANT: if you have pre-existing condition, HCI is open to negotiating this with the underwriters BEFORE all is said and done. For example, my husband was considered to have a pre-existing condition because he was on Lipitor. I asked them what we could do about this as a pre-existing condition. They charged us $125. extra to have the Pre-existing condition removed. Now they have him down as no pre-existing condition. In other words, you have to ask how to have the pre-existing removed while it is in the underwriting stage or it is too late. YOU HAVE TQuestion: Do they charge $125.00 to remove each pre-existing condition or do the pre-existing conditions themselves determine the cost of removal. IOW, Your husband's cholesterol cost $125.00; if one takes Diovan for bO ASK, THEY WILL NOT OFFER OR TELL YOU IF YOU DON'T ASK FIRST.[/quote

Question:If the pre-existing condition - elevated cholesterol - was removed for a $125.00 fee, then he must currently NOT be taking Lipitor any longer for elevated cholesterol - is this correct? He is cured? IOW, he has no cholesterol issue any more? ( Elevated cholesterol is usually lifelong and so is the treatment) Otherwise, if he was, in fact, still taking Lipitor and was documented as having no pre-existing condition, then why would he be still taking the drug.

Also, is there a set fee of $125.00 to remove a pre-existing condition or is the specific pre-existing condition that which dictates the fee amount? eg: Cholesterol; $125.00; Heart: $250.00; Hypertension: $175.00.

To clarify: One can NOT be currently prescribed and taking any meds relating to medical conditions as defined by the insurer to be "pre-existing."

Thanks,
Swan

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Posted : August 4, 2012 4:03 pm
jackaroo
(@jackaroo)
Active Member

Is this group still active?? I would love more info....

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Posted : July 15, 2014 3:04 pm
Maria123
(@Maria123)
Active Member

Do you select "worldwide excluding USA" or "worldwide including USA" when using the Fast Quote link?
There's a big difference in premium, of course.

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Posted : July 15, 2014 3:49 pm
caribstx
(@caribstx)
Trusted Member

Looks very similar to the expat insurance that Cigna Global is offering. Except that Cigna Global pays the provider directly.

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Posted : July 15, 2014 4:44 pm
STXBob
(@STXBob)
Trusted Member

Is this group still active?? I would love more info....

I assume they're still active. Others on this forum who are members can confirm.

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Topic starter Posted : July 16, 2014 1:19 am
STXBob
(@STXBob)
Trusted Member

Do you select "worldwide excluding USA" or "worldwide including USA" when using the Fast Quote link?
There's a big difference in premium, of course.

This is the answer I got when I inquired in 2012: If you will be in the US [the 50 states] for more than 60 days per policy year, then you would need an 'including USA'' policy option (HealthCare Premium and Executive plans only. 30 days if the Emergency +, Standard or Plus plan is taken).

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Topic starter Posted : July 16, 2014 1:22 am
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