Ah, healthcare. This is perhaps my most minor preferred subject to discuss. It is a source of debate, confusion, and hair-ripping headaches. Finding healthcare for people who are Airstream RV Dealers is ten times more difficult.
We’ve been traveling for three years and have tested several options to cover while on the road. We’ve tried something different each year since we’ve not been satisfied with the options we have.
When you’re not often within the state you call home or your domicile state, it’s challenging to find a healthcare plan which will care for you while you’re wandering around Denali National Park.
In this blog, I’ll be discussing our personal experiences in insurance in the field.
NOTE: I’m no expert on the subject of healthcare for Airstream dealer in Mississippi
since, we’ll be honest, the rules change far too frequently for anyone to claim to be an expert. The information in this blog is only our personal experiences. If you’re seeking medical advice, you’re in the wrong spot.
2014: Obamacare/Affordable Care Act
Before Heath and I got married in 2014, I was in Obamacare, as Heath was on his parent’s insurance plan. (It’s important to note that after we got wed, Heath stayed on his parent’s insurance plan until his 26th birthday in the year.)
I paid $4.87/month for health insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield. I was on an awful catastrophic plan that had a very high deductible.
This was when we were filming Hourly America, which is available at no cost here, and we earned only a tiny amount of money in our first year traveling (see our earnings total here). Since we only made money from sponsors, and it was not until October that we began to find freelance clients traveling, the cost of health insurance at $5 was the most we could manage.
2015: No Healthcare
Even though we made very little money in the first year in the field, We were not eligible for Affordable Health Care in 2015. I think this was because we’re self-employed. We didn’t get any government subsidy, and since our business was only starting, we could not pay at least $200 a month or more to cover health insurance for the rest of our lives.
The majority of plans we considered included more than $200 in insurance for me and my only. Being self-employed and 24 years old, it was unlikely we’d be able to get this.
Deciding not to join a healthcare plan was a significant source of stress for us; however, it was the only choice financially.
As we were healthy and young, We felt that it wasn’t a sign of risk, and we tried our best to keep me pregnant.
We did pay one percent of our income penalty for not having insurance. However, this was significantly lower than what it would have cost to insure me for the entire year.
2016: Airstream Dealers Insurance
In 2016, we registered for medical insurance with the Airstream Dealers Insurance Exchange.
In signing in with RVer Insurance was complicated and confusing but provided a lot of peace of mind because they are experts in the search for health insurance coverage for Airstream Dealers, and up to the point of signing up, we had been searching for health insurance coverage our own.
We phoned and spoke to Colleen she explained our situation and what we wanted to find. We completed some forms –which we needed to print and fill out in hand and then fax back to them in the style of 1987. we were contacted the following day with several possibilities.
Colleen came up with an insurance plan that covered me throughout America through the Scott and White Health Plan. It was an incredible $265 a month just for me. It was a real kick in the stomach. This was the least expensive option for me.
I was arguing with Heath about the cost, but Heath (and anyone else who knew that I wasn’t covered in 2015) demanded that I obtained health insurance in 2016. So I got it. It’s never been used, and it cost me a fair amount for it.
If you’re searching for conventional health insurance plans, I would highly recommend contacting the representatives from RVer Insurance. You’re sure of choosing a program that lets you access healthcare whenever you travel. They also provide a variety of choices for remote medicine, which is a good alternative if you cannot find the right provider for your location and even offer health-sharing plans.
2017-2019: Liberty Healthshare
In 2017, we joined Liberty Healthshare as our healthcare provider.
Liberty Healthshare isn’t health insurance but rather a health care sharing ministry.
If you’ve never heard about health sharing, I’ll describe what it is.
“A health care sharing ministry is an organization that helps to share costs for health care among individuals members within the United States, who have the same ethical or religious beliefs.
If your first reaction was “Huh?” let me simplify it for you. Instead of making payments to an insurance company every month, you pay for other patients’ medical bills when you file a claim; instead of insurance paying for the claim, the other members of your health sharing community pay your medical bills.
This can mean a couple of things:
- You’re working with a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, not an insurance firm.
- You can see exactly where your money goes as it is used to fund people. (Liberty automatically debits my credit card every month, but I can see last month, our money was deposited with David & Elizabeth.)
- There’s no need to fret about finding a specific service searching for care.
- It’s much less expensive than insurance.
- It’s exempt under ACA regulations, which means you will not need to pay penalties.
I would have been apprehensive about joining a healthcare program at first. Still, before signing up, we spoke to numerous people who have utilized health sharing and have raved on health sharing (including my parents). My parents, who are also entrepreneurs, signed up with Samaritan Ministries after the Affordable Healthcare Act was approved, making traditional healthcare inaccessible for them. This is a major issue for the majority of our self-employed friends. My family has gone through several surgeries and doctor visits throughout the years, and has had nothing but positive things to say about them.
We would have been a part of Samaritan many years ago, but the requirement is that you be accompanied by a pastor’s signature, and sign a declaration of faith. It’s tough to find an official “home church” as you’re not in an area for more than a month, which is why we couldn’t join. (Remember the premise of healthsharing is to share the cost of medical care with a set of people who share the same ethical or religious convictions.)
So we decided to choose Liberty Healthshare (on the recommendation of Michelle from Making the Most of Cents). Liberty is affiliated with the church like the other health sharing companies, however it does not require you to be a religious person.
Liberty Healthshare has an affiliate program (you earn $100 per person you recommend) So I tweeted Michelle and she emailed Liberty my contact information and my email address.
I was contacted by them (the call lasted less than 3 minutes) I was emailed several forms I could fill out online, and then we were completed!
All eligible medical expenses will be covered in the amount of $1,000,00o. Our average expenses on doctors’ visits during our marriage was just $0; we thought that was a bargain.
In late 2018 I was pregnant. (Yay our family, Oh for Liberty. )
We were told of not just that Liberty would cover everything related to pregnancy, but we would be reimbursed for all medical expenses in the next 30 days. Yes, we’d pay the entire cost out of our pocket, unless we could locate a doctor who was willing to accept Liberty already (we were unable to).
We began to pay several thousand dollars for my OBGYN (at the discount for self-pay) and then submitted the funds to Liberty and not receiving checks through the mail. In the year 2019 came around and our monthly costs were increased and so was our annual unshared amount (annual non-shared sum, that basically translates to tax-deductible). Annoying. When we contacted them over the phone as we had not received any checks, the company said that they would pay within the 30 working days.
Hm. It’s odd, but whatever.
Then we called one month later, and they told us they were behind by a month however, don’t worry about it. You’ll be paid.
Now I’m nine months pregnant and we’ve not been reimbursed for anything. I’m going to charge the cost of the cost of a c-section on my card. The caller tells me they’re 4 months behind in their payments; congrats on the baby!
At this moment, Heath and I know we’ll need to move to another company however, I’m soon to have a baby , and it’s in the middle of the year. I’m certain that this is the most difficult possible time to switching health insurance.