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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, December 9, 2022
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Do the Math

Dear Source:

To quote former President Bill Clinton, “It’s in the math.” In September the Virgin Islands consumer learned that shipping rates would be going up, that the LEAC increase would inch up to $40+ a month if you are talking residential rates (heaven help the business owners who will pay more) and that if you have CIGNA Health Insurance through the government those rates have barely risen or catapulted to an unheard of high for premiums.
As a senior citizen, my coverage has gone up 64%. Government house said its rationale was that seniors use more coverage and pay less than those still actively working for the government, whose rate was increased 1.6%. Somehow, no one noted that most retired government workers have been paying into the government insurance health programs for many years. Personally, my husband has paid premiums for nearly forty years, many years during which time premium paid exceeded claims filed.
For those who do not know CIGNA offers two categories of coverage for the insured: Single or family (one or more dependents.) Many, many seniors are fortunate to have a spouse alive; therefore, the insured pays family rates.
Now if I am among those still actively employed, I am paying a 1.6% increase for 80% of coverage.
If I am a retiree over 65 and have Medicare Insurance which pays 80% of doctor, hospital and medical costs, I am paying a CIGNA premium with a 64% increase for 20% coverage.
A heads up to the government, you had better revisit the 2013 fiscal budget because the increase on seniors will result in increased demand for assistance (Medicaid, SNAP, etc.) Local insurance agents may be able to meet those WAPA increases with new senior citizen clients.
Does anyone have figures on the number of seniors leaving the Virgin Islands because their fixed incomes have been stretched to the breaking point? Fewer citizens, less revenue… that’s the math.

Diana Parker
St. Thomas

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