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USVI official selected to chair healthcare reform group focused on territorial concerns
Published on September 14, 2013 Email To Friend    Print Version

ST THOMAS, USVI -- US Virgin Islands banking and insurance director, John McDonald, has been selected to chair a working subgroup of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The group, which is a territorial subgroup of the Healthcare Reform Regulatory Alternatives Working Group, represents the concerns of the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands regarding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Lieutenant Governor Gregory Francis commended McDonald on this selection by his peers to lead the group.

“Mr. McDonald has a wealth of expertise in the territory’s insurance industry and the issues impacting our local consumers,” he stated. “Although the Affordable Care Act is a significant piece of legislation, it does not treat the territories equally when it comes to some of the advantages afforded to the states. I am hopeful that, under Mr McDonald’s leadership, this workgroup can bring a greater awareness to these issues and parity to the territories.”

For example, the ACA requires that health insurance carriers in US territories offer plans with essential health benefits to all residents without discriminating on the basis of health and preexisting conditions (guaranteed issue) and without charging unhealthy individuals higher premiums than healthy individuals (adjusted community rating), but does not require that all individuals acquire and maintain health insurance coverage in order to distribute coverage risks among all the population (ACA mandates).

The workgroup will also address several areas where the Affordable Care Act does not offer equal treatment to the territories to include market reforms, tax provisions and individual and small group coverage. Among the territories, the potential unintended adverse consequences of the Affordable Care Act are expected to be less affordable healthcare and a significant increase in the uninsured population.
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