Photo courtesy: Istock Photos

Photo courtesy: Istock Photos

Retirees who worked with the Virgin Islands Government and have since relocated to the mainland United States will see an upgrade to their health insurance coverage as of January 1, 2017.

In an effort to provide the best quality healthcare at the lowest possible cost, United Healtcare, the health insurance plan provider for VI retirees over the age of 65, has arranged for those living stateside to be placed into a Medicare Advantage Plan, also known as Medicare Part C. This plan is more comprehensive than the Medicare Supplement plan that the VI government selected for the entire 65+group and the premiums will be a little less expensive as well!

As of January 1, 2017 the government’s health care plan with United Healthcare (for those 65+) will consist of two different plans. One plan will be for retirees living within the Virgin Islands and one plan will cover all VI government retirees living on the mainland.

The reason for two different plans is simple. At present, the Virgin Islands medical industry is not yet set up to provide the expanded, Medicare Part C of Advantage Plan, whereas Medicare Advantage Plans are commonplace throughout the states. So for now, VI residents will remain in the original Medicare Supplement Plan while those residing in states will be covered by a Medicare Advantage plan.

It is expected that the impediments to providing the expanded Medicare Advantage Plan will be worked out over the coming year so that VI Government retirees living in the Territory will also be able to take advantage of the same spectrum of services available elsewhere.

Over the past several months United Healthcare has been reaching out to all stateside retirees to advise them that as of January 1, 2017, they will actually be enrolled in two separate Medicare plans; the new Medicare Advantage Plan subsidized by the VI Government and the old Medicare Supplement Plan the Government no longer supports.

For this reason, retirees living stateside who have not dis-enrolled in their current Medicare Supplement Plan will receive a bill directly from United Healthcare for this policy. This is why Government retirees living stateside are strongly urged to call the United Healthcare number: 1-800- 523-5800 to dis-enroll before December 30th.

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