Finding Healthcare for RVers (And Why We Don’t Have Health Insurance)
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Finding Healthcare for RVers (And Why We Don’t Have Health Insurance)

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Finding Healthcare for RVers (And Why We Don't Have Health Insurance)Ah, healthcare. This is probably my least favorite subject to talk about. It invites so much controversy, confusion, and rip-your
-hair-out hassle. Not to mention finding healthcare for RVers is ten times more complicated.

We’ve been RVing for three years and have tried quite a few options for coverage on the road. We’ve actually used something different every year because until this year, we have not been happy with our options.

When you’re rarely in your home state or domicile state, it’s hard to find healthcare coverage that will take care of you when you’re off exploring Denali National Park.

In this blog post, I’ll talk about our own experience with insurance on the road.

Note: I’m no expert in healthcare for RVers because let’s be real, the rules change too much for anyone to be an expert.This blog post is purely our own experiences. If you’re looking for medical advice, you’ve come to the wrong place.

2014: Obamacare/Affordable Care Act

Before Heath and I were married in 2014, I was on Obamacare and Heath was on his parent’s insurance plan. (It’s worth noting that after we were married, Heath stayed on his parent’s insurance plan until his 26th birthday last year.)

At the time, I was paying $4.87/month for health coverage with Blue Cross Blue Shield. I had a terrible catastrophic plan with a super high deductible.

This was while we filmed Hourly America, which you can watch for free here, and we were making little money our first year on the road (see our total income here). Since our only income was through sponsorship and it took until October before we started finding freelance clients on the road, paying $5 for health insurance was about all we could afford.

2015: No Healthcare

Despite making very little our first year on the road, we did not qualify for Affordable Healthcare in 2015. I imagine this was mostly because we are self-employed. Since we didn’t receive any government subsidies and because our business was just getting started, we couldn’t afford health insurance to shell out $200/month or more for health insurance, period.

All of the plans we looked at were over $200 to insure just me. At 24 and self-employed, there was no chance we could swing that.

Choosing to not sign up for healthcare was a huge point of stress for us, but financially it was our only option. 

Since we were young and in good health, we felt dropping our coverage wasn’t too big a risk and did our best to not get me pregnant.

We did have to pay the 1% of our income penalty for not having insurance, but this was still significantly less than how much it would’ve cost to insure me for the year.

2016: RVers Insurance

In 2016 we signed up for my health insurance through RVers Insurance Exchange.

We found through the recommendation of Cherie and Chris over at Technomadia.

Signing up with RVer Insurance was a little complicated and confusing, but offered a lot of peace of mind since they specialize in finding health insurance coverage for RVers and up until this point, we were researching health plans ourselves.

We called and talked to Colleen, explained our situation, and told her what we were looking for. We filled out some forms—which we had to print out, fill out by hand, and then fax back to them like it’s 1987—and she called us back the next day with multiple options.

Colleen found me a plan that would cover me across all of America with Scott and White Health Plan. It was a whopping $265 a month for just me. Talk about a kick to the gut. And that was the cheapest plan available for me.

I argued with Heath that we couldn’t afford that, however, he (and everyone who knew I wasn’t covered in 2015) insisted that I get healthcare in 2016, so I did. Never used it once, but paid a pretty penny for it.

If you’re looking for traditional health insurance, I highly recommend going through the agents at RVer Insurance so you can be sure you’re finding a plan that will allow you to access healthcare wherever you are traveling. They also offer a lot of options for telemedicine, which can be a great option if you can’t find a provider in your area.

2017: Liberty Healthshare

Earlier this year we signed up for Liberty Healthshare as our healthcare provider.

We’ve had Liberty Healthshare for three months and it is easily my favorite option for RVers so far.

Liberty Healthshare isn’t health insurance, it’s a health care sharing ministry.

If you haven’t heard of healthsharing, let me explain what it is.

“A health care sharing ministry is an organization that facilitates sharing of health care costs among individual members, in the United States, who have common ethical or religious beliefs.” (Wikipedia)

If your first thought is “Huh?” let me put it layman’s terms. Instead of paying an insurance company each month, you pay other people’s medical bills. And when you make a claim, instead of an insurance paying the claim, other people in your healthsharing community pay for your bills.

This means a few things:

  1. You’re working with a 501(c)3 non-profit, not an insurance company.
  2. You can actually see where your money is going, because it goes toward individuals. (Liberty automatically charges my credit card each month, but online I can see that last month our money went to David & Elizabeth.)
  3. You don’t have to worry about finding a specific provider when looking for care.
  4. It’s significantly cheaper than insurance.
  5. It is exempt under ACA requirements, so you do not have to pay a penalty.

I would be skeptical about joining a healthshare ministry, but before signing up we talked to several people who have used healthsharing and raved about it (including my parents). My parents, fellow entrepreneurs, joined Samaritan Ministries after the Affordable Healthcare Act passed, making traditional healthcare unaffordable for them. This is a pain point for many of our self-employed friends. My family has claimed several procedures and doctors visits over the years and have had nothing but good things to say.

We would’ve joined Samaritan years ago, however, you are required to have a pastor’s signature and sign a statement of faith. It’s hard to have a “home church” when you’re never in a place longer than a month, so we were unable to join. (Remember the foundation of healthsharing is that you share medical costs with a group of individuals with common ethical or religious beliefs.)

This year, we chose Liberty Healthshare (on the recommendation of Michelle from Making Sense of Cents). Liberty is religiously affiliated like all healthsharing organizations, but does not require you to be religious.

Liberty Healthshare has an affiliate program (you earn $100 for every person you refer) so I tweeted at Michelle and she sent Liberty my phone number and email address.

They called me (the call was less than three minutes), emailed over a few forms I could fill out online, and we were done!

Plus, since everything is internal (versus calling RVers Insurance and them looking around at all other providers for plans), we picked our plan in 5.2 seconds.

healthcare for RVers

As you can see in this super easy to understand chart, 100% of eligible medicals bills will be covered, up to $1,000,00. Since our average spend on doctors visit in the past three years of marriage has been $0, we figured that sounded like a pretty good deal.

Plus, and to me this is huge, we pay less because we are under 30 (score!) and we pay $249 for coverage for Heath and I. That’s $16 less than health insurance for just me in 2016 AND the coverage is better.

Honestly, this is a no-brainer for us. And while we of course hope to never have to file claims for medical expenses, I feel confident that Liberty will take care of us.

If you want to go through RVer Insurance to have an agent help you find a plan that’s right for you, they now offer healthsharing plans in addition to other insurances.

We’ll continue to update this post with our experiences with healthsharing.

Finding coverage across the country from an insurance company you can trust is extremely difficult right now. Based on our experience in the past few years, I recommend Liberty Healthshare for getting the best coverage for your money. However, you should do your own research, call RVers Insurance if you have specific questions, and always choose what is best for your specific situation. That, and take a deep breath and don’t let finding health insurance stress you out too much!

If you want to hear more about other full-timers’ experiences with health insurance, here’s a few more articles to read:

We No Longer Have Traditional Health Insurance – Liberty HealthShare Review by Michelle of Making Sense of Cents

Healthcare & Health Insurance for Full Time RVers by Technomadia

Finally Insured! Our Simple, Affordable RV Healthcare by Gone with the Wynn’s

Health Insurance Challenge: Coverage for Full-Time RVers, An in-depth look on WinnebagoLife

Follow Alyssa Padgett:

Travel blogger

Second half of Team Padgett and full-time traveler in our Winnebago Brave. I blog about our travels, how I run our production company from the road, and the ridiculous things Heath does on a daily basis. My husband thinks I'm funny.

  • Andrew C. Weissman

    There is no deductible with Liberty?

    • Jordan Dansky

      I have Liberty right now and pay $135/month for just me and have a $500 deductible.. which was WAY lower than any other plan I’ve found. So far though I’ve been completely covered for my yearly doc appt and haven’t had to pay any kind of deductible.

    • Tina

      We signed up with Liberty as a couple and we have a $1,000 “deductible” although they call it “annual unshared amount”, much better than the $6,000 deductible we had before.

    • The best place to learn more about the plans they offer is on their website:

  • Jordan Dansky

    LOVE Liberty! I turned 26 in November and was really nervous about my options since we’re also self-employed. Liberty was by far the easiest + most affordable to join. I’m so happy to hear the coverage will still work for us as we start RVing full time this fall! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

    • That’s awesome! I’m glad to hear y’all are liking it as well!

    • Yes! Good to hear others who are doing this! 🙂

  • Tina

    Great post. I would love to have a $265/mo insurance premium! lol After hubby changed jobs and the cheapest health “insurance” we could find was $1,000/mo for the both of us (for a VERY high deductible plan) although we RARELY go to the doctor (we are in our mid-50s), we too just signed up with Liberty Healthshare. The “Affordable Care Act” is no longer affordable and for people who have very little need for doctors (except once a year and the occasionally injury or serious illness), this appears to be a good option. We are giving it a try now so we will be able to have coverage when we hit the road full-time in 18 months. I have already called local physicians to get prices. I’ve always been a “shopper” (finding the best deals) so this puts healthcare costs in MY hands for a change! Good luck to both of us!

    • Wow $1000 a month is crazy! We too have had a lot of trouble finding afforable care that is actually affordable. Best of luck as you’re shopping around!

      • Tina

        Thanks, Alyssa. We signed up with Liberty last month. I refuse to pay $12,000 a year for “just in case” coverage that will still cost us another $6,000!!! #notaffordablecareact

    • Jay McCormick

      We’re in the same boat Tina. ~$1000 a month for our family of four. This gets us a high deductible plan that we can’t use for routine visits. We have it for catastrophic events, but pay out of pocket for any routine visits such as the kids’ checkups or our annual physicals. So the $1000 a month is only the beginning. We looked into Liberty last year. We may go with them when we move to full time RVers in the fall.

      • Tina

        Yea, it’s crazy how health insurance costs have skyrocketed! However, I believe under the ACA yearly physicals are covered. Even Liberty Healthshare covers annual exam. Might check into that, Jay. Good luck!

  • Glad you found something. We would definitely do a health share in the future – at the moment we still qualify for government help so the premium is manageable (although we really don’t get very much value out of it). We’ve done our specialist appointments and dental cleanings in Ecuador and Thailand this year because it’s way cheaper.

    • It’s so sad/funny that SO many people recommend leaving the country for special care, especially dental! But hey if you’re already traveling, it’s a good strategy for saving money!

  • Adam

    Whoa! It means a lot to read that we aren’t the only ones banging our heads against the wall with these things. Thanks so much for taking the time to detail this out, Alyssa. I feel we are about to switch over to Liberty as well.

    I’ll throw some support for getting stuff done internationally. Teeth cleaning in Indonesia for $50ish? Sure! The best quality physical I’ve ever had in my life in Thailand for a little over $100? Done!….of course this makes cost/benefit sense if you just happen to be in the area.

    It sucks but payments to health shares aren’t currently deductible on your Federal tax return for the self-employed health insurance deduction. I think Missouri is the only state that currently allows a deduction for State tax return.

    • When we start RVing abroad I’ll have to look into us getting work done over seas! It’s crazy how affordable it can be.

      That is a really good point about the tax deduction. I only just learned last week that my insurance last year is deductible, which is awesome! Definitely something to take into consideration.

    • Tina

      Ah, good point about the health share payment not being tax deductible for us self-employeds, but at $300/mo vs $1,000/mo (and a deductible 5x higher), I’d say we’re still ahead with Liberty!

  • John Lockhart

    Thanks for writing this to spell out your experiences and how you’re dealing with this issue. We are not full-time RVer’s and may never be, but as retired schoolteachers we have dealt with making the healthcare decision for ourselves and our college-age son. In our case, the best alternative ended up being continuing my past plan at a personal cost of over $2,000/month for family coverage!

    • Wow–that’s crazy money! Hopefully something will change soon to make care more affordable.

  • Brian Wortel

    Great article, thanks for the details.

  • Erin Laughlin

    Great post! Before heading out on the road, all things health insurance was my world for the last ten years. And like you say, it has a polarizing affect, but I did want to share a great resource for RVers. Virtuwell is an online clinic of sorts that diagnoses and treats a wide variety of aliments. Regardless of your insurance status, the maximum out of pocket cost is $40 (way less than any standard office visit) and could be less if your insurance is accepted. They will call in a prescription if needed to any pharmacy you choose – great option for those of us constantly on the move!

    • Tina

      Wow, thanks!

    • That’s really good to know! I will have to keep that in mind for the future and try it out.

  • Would this healthcare also make sense whether you are a full time RVer or not? Being over 65 I pay only $135 per month. But my wife is not covered under this plan by paying $324-349 we could both have medical care coverage. Couldn’t we?

    • I would say that most people who use this type of plan are not full-time travelers. It just happens to be what we use. I can’t really answer any policy questions, but you can contact Liberty to see if it would be a good fit for you.

  • @alyssapadgett:disqus — curious what your experience has been with LHS thus far? Currently looking at them based off a raving recommendation from a friend.

    • We haven’t had to make any claims yet, thankfully! But I linked to Michelle’s review of LHS in the article below. I know she made a claim like the very first week they switched, so she has more experience!

  • Natalie Anderson

    My husband is on Medicare. I am on disability, this means I am also on SSN. We are trying to get ourselves ready to live in an RV full-time. Will there be any issues with getting travel.

    • Hey Natalie! That’s a question for your insurance agent, as we have no experience with Medicare or disability. I can say however, that travel is possible for anyone who wants to do it.

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