Minister Ludmila de Weever.
PHILIPSBURG--Persons who already have medical insurance that covers them when they travel are among the issues being taken into consideration in the ongoing discussions for the COVID-19 insurance for tourists who come to the island.
Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Ludmila de Weever stressed that the matter is still under discussion. The insurance will be similar to the COVID-19 insurance that has been introduced by Aruba. Local insurance companies in St. Maarten have agreed to participate in the one for this island.
“We were waiting to get a few more details especially on the pricing of the insurance,” De Weever said on Wednesday during the live Council of Ministers press briefing.
One piece of good news is that the cost of the insurance has dropped drastically. According to De Weever, the price originally started at US $135 for an average of a weekly stay in Aruba. This plummeted about a month ago to US $70 and it currently stands at US $30 irrespective of the length of a person’s stay. “What the decrease in price is telling you is that the larger the pool becomes, the lower the cost is. The premium still covers the cost of medical evacuation to the US and again it is still under discussion,” the minister stressed.
“When it comes to a person having sufficient insurance that follows them around the globe … that is why this is all still in discussion, because all of those points are being taken into consideration to determine whether or not we do it exactly like Aruba did and make it mandatory, regardless of where you are flying in from, or we decide to have exemptions for persons, who have a sufficient insurance coverage that covers them for medical evacuations from St. Maarten,” the minister explained.
“Again, the public needs to realise that our responsibility is to protect the reputation of St. Maarten when it comes to any incidences that happen from COVID-19 as it did back in March when we were on US news and it appeared as if a person caught COVID while on holiday [here – Ed.], so 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 so as not to not deter them from coming to our shores.”
Aruba had introduced the mandatory insurance for tourists as a condition for visitors. Their mandatory insurance policy had been developed with the Aruba insurance sector and serves to cover the cost of isolation, medical and hospital expenses and transport/repatriation in case a visitor has COVID-19. For Aruba, the coronavirus insurance must be purchased by the traveller prior to boarding a flight to that destination.