Healthcare in the Caribbean

USVI Governor Commissions Studies on Health Insurance Exchange

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - August 19, 2012

Above: US Virgin Islands Governor John de Jongh

By the Caribbean Journal staff

United States Virgin Islands Governor John de Jongh has hired two companies to conduct studies on the question of implementing a Health Insurance Exchange in the territory.

The exchange, if implemented, would be in line with US President Barack Obama’s reform of the country’s health care system.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the US Virgin Islands has the option of using federal aid to create an exchange, or using the funding to expand its Medicaid programme.

“Establishing a Health Insurance Exchange here in the Virgin Islands is an exciting possibility, one that could be a significant step toward our goal of helping all in the territory find affordable health insurance,” de Jongh said. “The Exchange would be a one-stop shop where Virgin Islanders could find a plan that is right for them, their families or their employees, and seek government assistance if necessary.”

The two companies will examine the insurance market in the Virgin Islands and look at the technological requirements for establishing an insurance exchange.

The governor said he is still withholding judgment on the question, however.

“This would be a big project, and before we commit to it, my Health Reform Task Force needs more information so as to make the decision that will benefit the greatest number of people in the territory,” he said. “With these two studies, I am confident whatever decision I make will be well-informed.”

The two companies contracted are NewWave Telecom and Technologies and Value Advisory Group.

The decision follows a federal grant received by the territory in March to study the feasibility of an exchange, which would act as an online marketplace to shop for different health care plans.

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