Senators Approve FY 2023 Budget Bills, Government Health Insurance Renewals During Full Session

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GESC Health Insurance Board of Trustees Chair Beverly Joseph said Tuesday that the general increase to the federal government’s medical insurance package for presidency employees is around 4 percent for the upcoming fiscal yr. (Photo courtesy of the V.I. Legislature)

While voicing concern about what they described because the “last-minute” submittal of group medical insurance proposals for presidency employees, senators in full session Tuesday passed a package that included a 4 percent increase for the upcoming fiscal yr.

In line with GESC Health Insurance Board of Trustees chair Beverly Joseph, total cost and enrollment figures generally exclude lively employees of semi-autonomous agencies, reminiscent of the V.I. Port Authority, University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas East End Medical Center, Frederiksted Health Care and the V.I. Housing Authority.

The GESC Board – the entity charged with soliciting competitive bids for the federal government’s medical insurance program – last put the package out in 2018 for fiscal yr 2019 and can be going through the method again in 2023 for fiscal yr 2024. In line with Joseph, and based on essentially the most recent data collected through June, medical claim expenditures account for 89 percent of the medical plans’ premiums, exclusive of other expenditures, reminiscent of administrative costs. Amidst the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years, losses increased by 2.4 percent, which had the board planning for a 2-5 percent increase in premiums needed to cover future claims.

An initial medical renewal estimate provided by CIGNA offered a 9.8 percent increase, together with a 7.4 percent increase for dental. Through negotiation, an overall medical plan increase of 4.9 percent was approved for all participants, while dental remained the identical. In dollars, the rise is valued at $6.9 million.

The central government provides basic life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment coverage to all lively and retired employees. In past years, the Legislature has absorbed the associated fee of the collective increases.

Convening in full session after Joseph’s testimony, the total Senate body approved the package, together with all pending fiscal yr 2023 budget bills, which can be forwarded to the governor for final approval.

Bills passed Tuesday are:

• Bill No. 34-0302, an act providing an appropriation from the General Fund of the Treasury of the Government of the Virgin Islands for the operation of the Government of the Virgin Islands throughout the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0303, an act providing an appropriation for the operation of the judicial branch of the Government of the Virgin Islands, the Judicial Council, and the Office of the Territorial Public Defender throughout the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0304, an act providing an appropriation for the Legislature of the Virgin Islands for the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0305, an act providing an appropriation for salaries and expenses of the Virgin Islands Board of Elections and the Office of the Supervisor of Elections for the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0306, an act providing an appropriation from the Anti-Litter and Beautification Fund to the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority and the Virgin Islands Department of Public Works for operating expenses throughout the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0307, an act providing an appropriation for the salaries and expenses of the University of the Virgin Islands for the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0308, an act providing an appropriation for the operating expenses of the Virgin Islands Board of Education from the General Fund of the Treasury of the Virgin Islands throughout the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0309, an act providing an appropriation from the Business and Industrial Properties Revolving Fund to the Virgin Islands Department of Property and Procurement for operating expenses for the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0310, an act providing an appropriation for the operating expenses of the Virgin Islands Profession and Technical Education Board from the General Fund of the Treasury of the Government of the Virgin Islands throughout the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0311, an act providing an appropriation from the Caribbean Basin Initiative Fund as a contribution to the General Fund of the Treasury of the Virgin Islands for the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0312, an act providing an appropriation from the Government Insurance Fund of the Treasury of the Government of the Virgin Islands to the Department of Labor and the Department of Finance for operating expenses throughout the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0313, an act providing for the lump-sum appropriation from the Health Revolving Fund to the Virgin Islands Department of Health for Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0314, an act providing an appropriation for the operating expenses of the Virgin Islands Hospital and Health Facilities Corporation from the General Fund of the Treasury of the Government of the Virgin Islands for the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0315, an act providing for a lump-sum appropriation from the Indirect Cost Fund for operating expenses to the Office of Management and Budget, the Virgin Islands Division of Personnel, the Virgin Islands Department of Property and Procurement and the Virgin Islands Department of Finance for the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0316, an act providing an appropriation for the operating expenses of the Virgin Islands Office of the Inspector General from the General Fund of the Treasury of the Government of the Virgin Islands for the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0318, an act providing an appropriation from the Virgin Islands Lottery as a contribution to the General Fund of the Treasury of the Government of the Virgin Islands for the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0319, an act providing an appropriation for the operating expenses of the Public Employees Relations Board and the Virgin Islands Labor Management Committee for the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0320, an act providing an appropriation for operating expenses of the Waste Management Authority from the Sewer Wastewater Fund of the Government of the Virgin Islands for the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0321, an act providing an appropriation to the Virgin Islands Taxicab Commission for the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0322, an act providing an appropriation from the Tourism Promoting Revolving Fund to the Office of the Governor, the Virgin Islands Police Department, the Virgin Islands Department of Public Works, the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority, the Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture, and the Virgin Islands Department of Tourism for the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0323, an act providing an appropriation for the operating expenses of the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority from the General Fund of the Treasury of the Government of the Virgin Islands throughout the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0324, an act providing an appropriation for the operating expenses of the Virgin Islands Public Services Commission for the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0325, an act providing an appropriation from the General Fund of the Treasury of the Government of the Virgin Islands for the operating expenses of the Virgin Islands Board of Nurse Licensure for the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0326, an act providing an appropriation for the operating expenses of the Virgin Islands Bureau of Motor Vehicles from the Transportation Trust Fund throughout the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0327, an act providing an appropriation for the sum of $6,000,000 from the Virgin Islands Insurance Guaranty Fund as a contribution to the General Fund of the Treasury of the Government of the Virgin Islands for the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0328, an act amending Title 22, Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 10, Section 23.7(a)(3)(A) and title 33, chapter 111, section 3061 referring to the balance within the Virgin Islands Insurance Guaranty Fund to amend the currently required $40,000,000 amount which is about to extend to $50,000,000 on Sept. 30, 2022.

• Bill No. 34-0329, an act providing an appropriation from the Crisis Intervention Fund for the Fiscal Yr Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

• Bill No. 34-0332, an act appropriating $570,000 from the St. John Capital Improvement Fund to the Virgin Islands Port Authority to finish repairs and construction on the Loredon Lorence Boynes Sr. Dock on the island of St. John.

• Bill No. 34-0333, an act appropriating funds from the Virgin Islands Lottery in Fiscal Yr 2022 to the Government Employees Retirement System for bonus pay shortfalls from Fiscal Years 2021and 2022.

• Bill No. 34-0334, an act appropriating funds from the General Fund in Fiscal Yr 2022 to the University of the Virgin Islands for the aim of paying retroactive merit increases to employees who separated from the University throughout the period of Jan. 1, 1992, through Dec. 31, 1998.

• Bill No. 34-0335, an act reconciling Act Nos. 8474 and 8590 and making various appropriations available until Sept. 30, 2023.; making a correction to Act No. 8578; amending Act No. 8496 appropriating additional funds to the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority; amending Act No. 8476 regarding the Fiscal Yr 2022 budget of the Legislature of the Virgin Islands; amending Title 33, Virgin Islands Code, Subtitle 3, Chapter 111, section 3100u to rename the Centennial Special Fund because the Virgin Islands Historical Commemorative Fund and appropriating $1,000,000 from the Communities Facilities Trust Fund to the Virgin Islands Historical Commemorative Fund to fund preparations for the A hundred and seventy fifth-anniversary celebration of emancipation within the Virgin Islands and for other related purposes.

• Bill No. 34-0336, an act amending Title 18, Virgin Islands Code, Chapter 7, Section 158 to extend the compensation of election officers and clerks.

• Bill No. 34-0337, an act appropriating the sum of $679,250 from the St. Croix Capital Improvement Fund to the Virgin Islands Port Authority for use for the resurfacing of the Gordon Finch Molasses Pier Facility.

• Bill No. 34-0339, an act authorizing the Department of Property and Procurement to put aside a portion of Parcel F, Submarine Base No. 6 Southside Quarter, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, for the Office of Veterans Affairs for the development of a veterans’ multipurpose center and appropriating a complete of $1,500,000 for construction completion.

• Bill No. 34-0294, an act amending Act 8474 to regulate the Fiscal Yr 2022 budget to appropriate funds to U.S.V.I. Soccer Federation, Inc., as a grant for added improvements to the skilled soccer field at Plot 23.-I Estate Bethlehem St. Croix, Virgin Islands, so as to add coverings for the bleachers and a latest car parking zone and requires the usV.I. Soccer Federation, Inc., to submit a comprehensive development plan for soccer within the Virgin Islands to the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation, and the Department of Property and Procurement for approval prior to commencing the project.

• Bill No. 34-0340, an act appropriating $5,000,000 to the Department of Sports, Parks, and Recreation to fund the completion of the Randall “Doc” James Racetrack on the island of St. Croix.

• Bill No. 34-0341, an act amending Act 8244, Act 8473, and Act 8489 by reducing or deleting a complete of $24,000,000 in prior appropriations from the Internal Revenue Matching Fund for the fiscal years 2020, 2021, and 2022 to permit for debt service payments.

 

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