RVers And Health Insurance

Seasoned RVers don’t buy the first RV they see when they pull on the lot. They research for months if not years for the brands and models that best fit their individual needs and budget. The same is true for the smart RVer shopping for health insurance as health insurance is not one size fits all. Our unique lifestyle requires that certain needs are met, or the policy could be useless. It’s important to lay out all of the health insurance facts that are applicable to RVers.

What Does Health Insurance Do Exactly?

First it’s important to understand the purpose of insurance. This is the flagship of health insurance facts, that is to transfer risk from you to an insurance company. You pay a monthly premium, in exchange the insurance company takes on the risk of you contracting a serious illness. It is a delicate balancing act for all involved. Regardless, when you buy your own coverage you have to be budget conscious while having a policy that’s going to be there for you when you need it. There are many factors to consider in order to find the right fit. 

Health Insurance Facts for Full Time RVers

Full time and seasonal RV’ers have unique concerns. Many have retired but aren’t old enough to have Medicare while others are moving around for their work such as construction or even traveling medical professionals. Now, with the expansion of work from home and the improvement of our communications networks, many are able to do their work from anywhere and they choose to live on the move while seeing our amazing country up close and personal. 

Does Your Health Plan Travel With You?

One major concern is does the health plan travel with you? In most cases, traditional plans do not. Employer plans as well as ACA marketplace plans are HMO’s and tied to a local network of doctors and hospitals. This makes it difficult to plan for even routine checkups. In the case of anything major, if you are halfway across the country in need of care you are limited to emergency and urgent care. All they are obligated to do is stabilize you. It is possible that you will find yourself on a life flight back to your HMO home for that open heart surgery to the tune of $40,000! That’s a risk to be avoided for sure. 

RVer Healthcare Insurance Options

Health Sharing Ministries

So what are your options? One that has gained in popularity over the years are Health Care Share Ministries. Here are a few heath insurance facts about these types of policies.

They vary widely but for the most part they look very much like traditional health care plans. They have cost shares such as copays and deductibles annual and lifetime max benefits. Most offer a few primary care visits a year and various levels of coverage for a wide range of medical procedures. They limit their risk by not offering maternity or prescription drug coverage among other things. Then there are large deductibles as well as no coverage for pre-existing conditions for up to two years. 

All that is fine as long as you know how the limits apply to you. But what you can’t know in advance is how they are going to parse the fine print when it comes time for your large claims. Since they are not governed by the state departments of insurance there is no governing body to hold them accountable. In many cases they have been sold as “just like major medical plans” when they are not. 

“Far too often for this author’s comfort they have been known to deny claims for reasons that defy logic and common sense. “

David Johnson – RV Insurance Benefits
Close up of stethoscope laying on health insurance forms.

Short Term Health Policies

Another popular type of coverage is short term health policies. There are a few important health insurance facts to consider here. Short term policies were originally designed to transition from one major medical plan to another such as when transitioning between jobs or from retirement to Medicare age. Typically the term is no more than a few months to maybe a year. Generally these plans are considered to be simply catastrophic medical plans. They have very high deductibles and pay no benefits until you have met them. But they do travel well since they are PPO’s in nature with no defined network. Many offer access to a discount primary care network such as Multi Plan but you do not have to use it if you find care for less elsewhere.                                           

The up side for short term plans is they are affordable and they travel well. So if you are only going to travel for a year or two on that great American road trip then a short term plan might be right for you. The big downside of these is they do not automatically renew. Should you develop a serious condition while on this type plan it will now be pre-existing should you extend your coverage another term. And heaven forbid that condition appear just before you do. 

Indemnity Policies

Then there are indemnity policies. Here are the health insurance facts for those. They come in many flavors but the bottom line is they reimburse the policyholder for medical expenses as defined by the policy. Some have limited primary care benefits while others require the policyholder to meet their deductible before any claims are paid. The best ones are going to provide dollar one coverage with adequate allowances for routine medical needs. As with short term plans, they tend to be PPO plans that travel very well. They may also include a discount network benefit as well so you have a choice of using a network or seeking a lower cost provider for your medical needs. These plans generally have monthly premiums that are similar to short term and HSM’s and they are regulated by the state’s departments of insurance. 

Health Insurance Facts: It’s Always About the Bundle

The savvy RV’er knows that bundling is often the best way to get the most bang for your buck. In this case it could well be that a low cost ACA plan bundled with a low cost Indemnity plan will give the best of both worlds for a very affordable monthly premium. Almost without exception ACA plans carry a substantial deductible and are regional HMO’s. But what if one were to bundle that with an Indemnity PPO plan? 

Case in point, one savvy RV’er that qualified for the ACA tax credit, rather than paying close to $1300/mo for a Silver plan with a $5000 deductible chose to apply for a high out of pocket Bronze plan that didn’t cover office visits until they had met their $8550 out of pocket maximum. They combined this with a low cost indemnity plan that reimburses them for their doctor visits as well as various other medical needs. In the event they are hospitalized, the indemnity plan would cut them checks up to their annual maximum. This bundle effectively covered the high deductible of the ACA plan while providing cash for other expenses as well. Bottom line, for significantly less premium they received blanket dollar one coverage with cash left over to help replace lost income in the event of any major health issues. 

Knowledge is Power

One of the most important health insurance facts is knowledge. The best way to have peace of mind on the road is to know you have knowledge, understanding and confidence of your health benefits. This gives you ultimate control of your healthcare. The job of a health insurance agent is to educate you to use your benefits wisely.

The information above is accumulated through years of knowledge and experience helping RVers insure their health since 2008. That is when we began living the dream and met many frustrated uninsured RVers. We are RVers helping RVers. RVer Insurance’ focus is to find out what is important to you. Educate you on what is available for your personal needs and teach you how to use it and most importantly keep more of your own money in your pocket. If you are just beginning and need assistance with domicile options health insurance and Medicare should be a determining factor and we are here to help. If you have been RVing for awhile and are uninsured or uncertain about how your benefits work we are here to help! Plus we just plain love talking about RVing. There are couple ways to contact us; one is to request a quote, or you call us on our toll free number 1-800-867-4330. 

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson

Dave has an extensive background in life and health insurance dating back to 2011. With a beginning in life and annuities he moved into health and Medicare in 2017. He and his wife Michele formed AmeriNet Life and Health and have successfully assisted thousands of clients navigate the complexities of their insurance needs. They specialize in building a balanced insurance portfolio for their clients to meet not only immediate but long term goals.