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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 RVerinsurance.com 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 and they even offer some healthsharing plans as well.
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:
- You’re working with a 501(c)3 non-profit, not an insurance company.
- 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.)
- You don’t have to worry about finding a specific provider when looking for care.
- It’s significantly cheaper than insurance.
- 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.
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, Liberty is easy to get on the phone and file any claims.
Update: We’ve stayed with Liberty Healthshare and had amazing experiences with them in 2018. It’s still the most affordable coverage we’ve found for healthy RVers.
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