New Year, New You – Ensuring Your Health Can Be Simple

Ensuring your health should work hand in hand with insuring your health. In other words, your health insurance coverage should support your own efforts of taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 

My name is Coleen Elkins. I have owned my own health insurance agency for over 25 years. In 2006 we lived in Fort Worth, Texas. It was Christmas time and my husband took a photo of me. That photo was a rude awakening! I realized that even though I was physically active, I was overweight by more than just a little. I joined Weight Watchers and lost 40 pounds. Happy with my success, I decided that I needed to give back to the WW community, so in addition to my day job, I went to Weight Watchers Leadership training and taught people how to eat whatever they wanted…in a healthy way. 

The next year however, my world came crashing down when my son lost his life to a person driving under the influence. Suddenly the beautiful house and everything we had worked for didn’t matter. Spiritually healthy, the only thing I held onto was my Faith, as I began the process of emotional healing. 

Emotional Healing

One day, an idea came to me to help ease my sadness and heal us emotionally…let’s buy a camper! We purchased a 19-foot Nomad travel trailer and parked it near Perrin, Texas, about 90 minutes from our home. Each weekend I couldn’t wait to get back to our camp in Perrin, “out in the middle of somewhere”, as my husband put it.

The weekend would end and it would be time to go back home to Fort Worth, and I didn’t want to go. Sometimes my husband would go back home and my Border Collies and I would stay in the Nomad. Then came another thought: why don’t we buy a bigger RV, and just live in it? Fifteen years later we are on our eighth RV, and just recently went from full-time, back to part-time RVers. It has been an amazing adventure, with zero regrets!

Ensuring Your Health & Insuring Your Health

As we traveled the country when our full-time journey began I quickly realized people had no idea how to insure their health while traveling. I created a website to help RVers and I became more determined than ever to help people understand which insurance works with this lifestyle and which ones don’t. The RV life can be active, sedentary or somewhere in-between…but it’s up to you. How much effort do you put in to ensure your physical well being? 

Looking under the hood frequently keeps our RV reliable. It is the same with our bodies! Let’s look at our ribcage, it is amazing! Our ribs protect all our internal organs! The thought of how our liver, spleen, pancreas all all knitted together and protected by our bones has always boggled my mind. We truly are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Think back to your teenage years. You were able to look down and see your feet! Your abdominal muscles made that possible without any thought, or body adjustments. For many, it’s a different view today. Have our abdominal muscles stopped working, or have we stopped working our abdominal muscles? Have you ever thought of how important it is to protect your internal organs and support them so they continue to function at their peak performance as you age? 

Physical Healing

You don’t have to become a sit-up fanatic to get those muscles working. Suck it in and up while driving! You can work on your abdominal muscles by simply tightening those muscles while sitting, watching your favorite sporting event, and even while driving! Within a few weeks your back, your bladder and other organs will appreciate the attention you have given your abs! 

medical chart showing core body muscles that must be worked for ensuring your health
Work your core muscles for ensuring your health

So what does ensuring your health have to do with insuring your health? A LOT! Insurance out of pocket deductibles and maximums are at an all time high. Why? Because of utilization (high claims). The truth is, subsidized health insurance is preventing people from recognizing the true cost of medical care. You never know the cost of your visit until you receive your explanation of benefits along with a bill. The wake up call when you are hit with unexpected bills is painful. ACA plans cause potential unexpected financial liability that will drain your bank account after a health event. 

The REAL Cost of Health Insurance

Here is an example of a typical premium coverage plan with out of pocket costs for a 30 year-old couple using Texas as their domicile

The most affordable bronze plan costs $626.76 per month and there are no benefits paid by the insurance company until they have met a $9100.00 each out of pocket maximum. Do the math yourself; $626.76 times 12 months plus $18,200.00 ($9100 each) is their true cost of owning that policy! 

Now, let’s make this couple 60 years old. Their premium is now $1498.68 per month and the annual financial liability is still $18,200.00 before the insurance company pays a dime. 

The reality is, you are paying big bucks to “lease a network” that only works in the county where you purchased the health insurance because it is a captive HMO health plan. So if you receive a tax credit that reduces your premium to next to nothing you turn around and pay when you file your taxes, because that is how premiums are subsidized with tax payer money. 

But There is Free Healthcare Now…Right?

Here is another change to health insurance you may not have examined. Even if the premium is 100 percent subsidized (free), an Affordable Care Act plan does not travel with you! There are zero benefits, except ER visits for a “true emergency”. If it turns out not to be deemed as a true emergency, you owe the entire ER bill. Heart attack or gas? Indigestion or ulcer? Can you afford not to know the difference?

If a hospital stay is necessary after your emergency procedures are complete, that hospital stay cost is 100 percent on you. Here is a suggestion: if you happen to be on Affordable Care Act health insurance, call the insurance carrier and give them the above scenario, then ask them how the benefits are paid by the plan for an out of network hospital stay or an ER visit that turned out to not be a real emergency. 

“As of September 2022, public programs provide health insurance coverage to 156 million beneficiaries, including 65.1 million people who are enrolled in Medicare and 90.9 million people who are enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP.”

Health Payer Intelligence

Last Year, over 156M beneficiaries received health insurance through public programs. These plans are typically NOT for RVers….do your homework! If this information is stressing you out, go take a walk and work on those core muscles. While you are out there pondering if there is a solution, take heart, in fact there is.

Ensuring Your Health in 2023

Just Walk!

What you need to seriously consider for 2023 is improving your health and lowering your risk of having to use your health insurance. Over a 5-year period, doing simple things that improve your core health can save you thousands of dollars. It’s easy to accomplish, even living full-time in an RV. Track your weight, and exercise 30 minutes everyday. You will meet the most wonderful people just walking around the RV Park. 

Use Existing Wellness Benefits

Be sure to use your annual wellness benefits. Note that those exams must occur where you purchased the policy if you are on an Affordable Care Act Plan, so make sure your travel plans include a route back to your domicile state at the appropriate time.

Find Health Insurance Designed for RVers

Once you have taken your walk and are relaxed, call us to review your options to insure your health affordably. After listening to what is important to YOU, we will share some cost saving ideas and benefits that provide you peace of mind for your health! The RVer Insurance Exchange is dedicated to providing health insurance designed specifically for RVers. Get a free health insurance quote today. You’ll also find RV insurance, and RV extended warranties available.

Coleen Elkins

Coleen Elkins

Coleen Elkins is the Managing General Agent at RV Insurance Benefits, and has been a full-time RVer since 2008.