Published On: Sat, Oct 17th, 2020

Hibernators may be excluded from compulsory Covid insurance

PHILIPSBURG — Many foreign condo owners and renters on St. Maarten have doubts about hibernating on the island this year. The cost of mandatory COVID-19 insurance can run up to several thousand dollars for a couple, while that extra coverage is unnecessary for the already well-insured visitors. This issue is one of the reasons why COVID insurance has not yet been made mandatory, according to Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Ludmila de Weever.

St. Maarten wants to follow the example of Aruba with the introduction of an extra insurance for non-residents that covers the medical evacuation to the United States in case of Covid infection. The St. Maarten Medical Center simply does not have the facilities and resources to receive foreign Covid patients. However, the question of whether every visitor to St. Maarten should be obliged to pay Covid insurance is still a matter of debate.

The Covid premium in Aruba has now fallen dramatically in price. The cost of the insurance was initially 135 dollars per week. As more people paid for the insurance to be admitted to Aruba, the price dropped to 70 dollars per week and the premium has now dropped to 30 dollars reagardless of the length of stay. The insurer that offers Covid insurance in Aruba is also represented on St. Maarten. “A comparable premium will apply here,” says Minister Ludmila de Weever. “But we have not decided yet, the discussion is still ongoing.”

Globetrotters and people living abroad for long periods of time usually have insurance with worldwide coverage that covers medical evacuation and transport of a deceased person to their country of origin. “All of these points are being taken into consideration to determine whether or not we do exactly like Aruba did and make it mandatory regardless of where you are flying in from, or we decide to have exemptions for persons that have a sufficient insurance coverage that covers them for medical evacuations from St. Maarten, ” the minister of TEATT explains.

De Weever reminds the public that it is her responsibility to protect the reputation of St. Maarten when it comes to incidences that happen from COVID-19. “In March we were on the US news and it appeared that a person caught COVID-19 while on holiday. We have to control that negative press for the island. In addition, we have to protect our visitors and we have to do it in an affordable manner for them to not to deter them from coming to our shores.”


Photo caption: File photo of the Taylors, American hibernators who vacation annually on St. Maarten and left on a Delta repatriation flight back to the USA in May.

Article in Dutch: Overwinteraars mogelijk uitgezonderd van verplichte Covid-verzekering