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Health Insurance

We’ve been getting a few questions about what we’re doing for insurance and we’d like to share what we decided to do. This article is not an endorsement for one time of insurance or another. We recommend that if you’re looking to do something similar, that you perform your own research and find multiple sources to determine what works best for you. We only researched companies for having insurance while we’re living in the US. There are different plans for living overseas and they can actually be much cheaper but will not allow for care in the US. For the US, insurance options and costs will vary by your resident state. When your resident state is not your physical address, this is called your domicile state.

Timing

We quit work on July 9th, but we had insurance through our companies until the end of the month. Therefore, we didn’t need insurance until August 1st. The healthcare brokers that we spoke with recommended signing up for insurance as early as 2 months prior to your need of it. Here’s the timeline that I’d recommend, however, early is always better, in my opinion, if you can start earlier:


Timeline to Find Insurance

T - 12 months: Understand the benefits of your current insurance and get as many benefits as you can, such as, wellness check, mammogram, colonoscopy, vaccinations, blood work, eye care, dental care, etc.

T - 6 months: Research your options

T - 4 months: Find a healthcare broker that you like

T - 2 months: Sign-up for insurance

T = 0: Date you need insurance


Our Details

We are insured with the following:

  • Philadelphia American Life (PAL) Insurance

  • Each portion is its own policy. Our policies:

  • Indemnity

  • Enhanced Accident

  • Catastrophic Accident

  • Critical Illness

  • Specified Disease

  • Cost: $710/month for both of us. This is based on our domicile state, age, health, and amount of coverage.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • We did not research dental, eye care, or life insurance due to lack of interest for our needs. Our insurance provider does provide optional add-ons for that, but we opted not to add these.

  • We’re in our early 40’s and are relatively healthy. We don’t have pre-existing conditions that are considered a risk by most companies. Our ailments are easily maintained by commonly available medications.

  • Our insurance doesn’t allow for maintenance check-ups for the first 6 months. I don’t know if this is common or specific to the one that we selected. However, they do have a mobile “tele-doc” app where you can get medical assistance without an in-person visit.

  • If you’ll be mobile, like us, you’ll need insurance that allows for nationwide providers and out-of-network providers.

  • Factors that may be part of your considerations include premium rates, pre-existing conditions, deductible rates, coverage limits, the claims process, and other benefits.

Options

We learned about our options primarily through watching multiple YouTube videos regarding insurance for full-time RVers. After hearing some general options, we had enough information to start our own internet searches. The following are options that we are aware of at the time of our research:

  • Indemnity - Compensates you for certain unexpected damages or losses up to a certain limit; limited or no pre-existing conditions

  • Affordable Care Act (ACA; also known as Obama Care) - A broker once told me a rule of thumb equals Your Age x 10 for average monthly costs; covers all pre-existing conditions

  • Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) - Continuation of health coverage from previous job’s group health plan; generally expensive

  • Health Sharing - Organizations, such as a religious organization, have a pool of funding that covers insurance for the group. Expenses must be approved by a board. This is not technically health insurance.

  • Short Term - Insurance for short terms (i.e. one month, six months, etc.) that will carry you until your situation status changes; may consider if you have a condition that needs immediate coverage but would not be otherwise covered.

  • Not Insured - Unfortunately, the cost of healthcare is so expensive, 14.7%* of US adults aged between 18-64 are not insured. This is absolutely an option. I’ve heard that there was going to be a penalty fee if you need care, however, it was not passed and there’s no fee. (I have not confirmed this.). You will need to weigh your risk-tolerance to decide if this is viable for you.

Finding a Broker

It took us a while to find the right broker. Because of this, I’ve recommended allowing 2 months to find your broker. Admittedly, we didn’t even compare quotes since our current broker was the first one that we found to be reliable.

  • First broker found using Google maps - he didn’t call back.

  • Second broker found using Google maps - he didn’t call at our appointment time.

  • Third broker from Florida was recommended from a YouTube couple that RVs full-time. She took a long time to return quotes and we didn’t feel that she listened to our needs.

  • After more internet searches, I found PAL. I filled out a generic form to get a quote.

Sign-up Process

  • Our broker, David, called us in a timely manner (within 1 day) after we completed the form.

  • The first call was only about 30 minutes and we immediately liked David. He and his wife are full-time RVers with similar needs and we felt he listened to what we were requesting. Plus, both he and his wife used to sell medicare insurance. Therefore, they are familiar with more aspects of the health insurance world which also helped our comfort level.

  • Within an hour, David sent a quote that fit our request (with a domicile state of Wyoming) and included general policy brochures and a brief video with an explanation of how their insurance works.

  • We scheduled a 1-hour meeting to occur two weeks later.

  • We decided our domicile state would be South Dakota.

  • We emailed David with our finalized domicile state.

  • David emailed a new quote with new rates for South Dakota.

  • During our meeting, David walked through the options and how they work. It was conversational and we were able to ask lots of questions.

  • David emailed us examples of bills, as requested, and how they would be paid.

  • We agreed that his quote matched our needs.

  • We emailed David to let him know we were ready to sign-up.

  • We had another meeting (~1.5 hours) with David so that we could sign-up for insurance.

Why did we decide what we did?

This is a vague question that will vary for individuals for many reasons. We appreciate that we are only paying for services that we might use. Unlike ACA, we are not paying for needs that are unlikely for us since we don’t have pre-existing conditions. We are happy that we have doctors on-call for common ailments. We are happy that we get to choose the care we receive before getting it (non-emergency situations). This means we’ll be “bargain shopping” for care which has its positives and negatives. For us, we’d rather have the pay-break by doing our own research. If emergency care is needed, they have a service that will help negotiate prices. In short, it was the right coverage for us.


Hopefully, that answers the majority of questions that you may have so that you can begin your research for your needs. But then there’s the next questions… how did we choose South Dakota as our domicile state? We’ll have more on that in our next blog. ;)

 

Don't worry, Andy didn't actually need medical care. The drink was his medicine.

 
 

*Source:

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/health-insurance.htm

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