Roach Says Medicare, Group Health Insurance to Pay for COVID-19 Tests

A test vial for the COVID-19 virus. (Shutterstock image)
A test vial for the COVID-19 virus. (Shutterstock image)

Health insurance companies licensed to offer group health insurance in the territory will pay the costs for COVID-19 tests, according to Lt. Gov. Tregenza Roach Esq., who also serves as the Virgin Islands Commissioner of Insurance.

The Division of Banking, Insurance and Financial Regulation requires each health insurance company that is licensed to conduct business in the territory and is offering group health insurance to notify the Division about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, costs paid.

There are three health insurance companies licensed to conduct business in the territory and offering group health insurance: Cigna, United Healthcare and Elan. These companies are in compliance with the president’s request that they pay the costs for coronavirus tests once the tests are distributed to health care providers for administration to their patients.

“This means that when a Virgin Islander who has health insurance goes to his or her private doctor for the test, the health insurance company will pay the cost for the COVID-19 diagnostic test as a covered benefit, and it will also waive any copay requirement that would otherwise apply to the diagnostic test,” said Roach.

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“The Division will be in constant communication with these health insurers to monitor the coronavirus services they provide. Be advised that each health insurance plan may differ. Therefore, please contact your health insurance plan administrator at your place of employment and ask about the specific coronavirus benefits offered by your health insurance company,” said the lieutenant governor.

Roach further added that, “VI SHIP/Medicare is situated within the Office of the Lieutenant Governor and is also a form of insurance. It is very important that Virgin Islands Medicare beneficiaries understand the costs that will be paid by Medicare as it relates to coronavirus. Medicare Part B plans will pay all costs for coronavirus diagnostic tests for Medicare beneficiaries who were tested on or after Feb. 4, 2020.”

Medicare Part A plans cover medically necessary hospitalization costs. If an individual is a Medicare beneficiary and the doctor recommends quarantine in the hospital rather than self-isolation at home, the hospitalization costs will be covered by Medicare Part A. Medicare Part A has a $1,408 deductible, but a beneficiary should not have a copay unless a hospital stay of more than 60 days is required. At present, there is no vaccine for coronavirus, but when a vaccine does become available, Medicare Part D plans will cover the cost for the vaccine.

The Office of the Lieutenant Governor is restricting walk-in customers and in-person business services from March 23 through April 3.  Customers in need of assistance are asked to call or visit the office website at www.ltg.gov.vi.

Division of Banking, Insurance and Financial Regulation

St. Thomas-St. John: 340-774-7166

St. Croix: 340-773-6459

VI SHIP/ Medicare

St. Thomas-St. John: 340-774-7166 ext. 4505 or 4507

St. Croix: 340-778-6311 ext. 3110 or 7396

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