RVers Should Avoid The Mistake of Getting the Wrong Medical Insurance
Obtaining medical insurance for RVers can be a challenge. It can be an even greater challenge if you are a full-time RVer or even spend the majority of time on the road.
Unless you’re within a certain age bracket, you might be on your own for medical insurance. Many people below age 65 who might not be covered by something like a military medical benefit seek-out coverage from the Affordable Care Act. However did you know that coverage under this plan can be rather limited and you may not even be covered under certain circumstances on the road?
Affordable Care Act Medical Insurance
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010. The mandate went into effect in 2014. It requires almost all Americans to maintain medical insurance coverage, unless they are eligible for an exemption.
Until 2018, there was a penalty collected by the IRS on federal tax returns, against people who did not maintain medical insurance coverage. This penalty was reduced to $0 after the end of 2018. In most states, people who have been uninsured since then are no longer assessed a penalty.
However, there are some areas of the country where penalties still apply if a person is uninsured and not eligible for an exemption. As of 2022, the states of Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia charge penalties.
Some of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act plans include the fact that you cannot be denied coverage even if you have pre-existing conditions. Further, depending on your income level and the state in which you live, there may also be subsidies available that could lower the cost of the plan.
Good Medical Insurance makes for StressLess Travel
As former California residents, we had ACA medical insurance under the Covered California program. Because our income qualified us, the premiums were subsidized.
We are no longer living in California. Further, we now travel a lot of the year. Therefore, we need medical coverage that will travel with us.
One of the first things we learned is that most medical insurance coverage under the ACA is location-dependent. The coverage you may have under the Affordable Care Act may cover emergencies but, should you require longer-term care such as rehabilitation or ongoing medical attention, insurance providers may require that you are within your home coverage area for longer-term and non-emergency medical coverage.
Knowing that we need insurance that will cover us wherever we happen to be, we began the search for a plan that was right for us.
Ministry Sharing Plans
The ACA does have a religious exception clause. In our research we spoke to a broker who deals with ministry sharing plans. In these plans, members’ monthly fees are essentially added to an account. Any member can request funds from the account to repay medical expenses.
These plans are not actually medical insurance, and do not comply with ACA requirements.
Many of these plans expect members to be part of the religious community, perhaps attending weekly gatherings. For travelers, this isn’t very practical. Some groups do allow members who are not active locally, but who agree to certain tenets of the religion.
There are also some organizations that utilize this aspect of the law to create coverage within the guidelines set forth by this type of coverage.
A big downside of this type of coverage is that it’s a pool of money that members contribute to. If the plan experiences a lot of payouts it could potentially put the plan into financial jeopardy and could result in the plan not being able to cover all the medical expenses.
The Search Continues
An agent that we spoke with at one company was fixated on our annual income. He was very much a salesman and a lot of what he said either didn’t answer our questions, or didn’t make sense to us. He truly would not listen to what we were asking him. Next!
Medical Insurance from RV Insurance Benefits
Our introduction to RV Insurance Benefits and the RVer Insurance Exchange website began when we interviewed Coleen Elkins and Lou Ann Hoagland from RV Insurance Benefits (RVIB) for the StressLess Camping podcast in Episode 68 and Episode 120. When we found ourselves making significant changes in our lifestyle – and our home base – we turned again to Coleen and Lou Ann to help us navigate the confusion of being insured against medical emergencies.
RV Insurance Benefits was founded in 2008 by RVers for RVers and frequent travelers. Their focus is to provide affordable health insurance that works for the RVer’s unique lifestyle.
Colleen Elkins has been living the RV lifestyle since 2008. While she traveled the country, she quickly recognized this unique lifestyle created challenges for people who needed health insurance coverage.
In 2013, finding medical insurance solutions became more difficult as the ACA ramped up. As Coleen shared her knowledge of health insurance with her fellow RVers, they would in turn refer other RVing friends to Coleen and her team. Coleen has spent over 26 years in the health insurance industry. Staying connected through the National Association of Health Underwriters has helped Coleen and her team keep up with the legislation that impacts RVers seeking insurance.
RV Insurance Benefits is the exclusive medical insurance writer for RVer Insurance Exchange, the popular insurance website dedicated to RVers and their unique needs. Coleen and her team handle every single health insurance query and quote for visitors to the RVer Insurance website.
Health Plans And Medicare That Travel With You
Please note: If you are eligible for Medicare, are part of an association of business owners, or a business with five or more employees, RVer Insurance can help you too, and a group plan quote is free.
The plan that Lou Ann showed us works alongside ACA coverage, to help fill in the gaps and shortfalls from using out-of-network medical facilities while traveling.
StressLess Insurance Coverage
Lou Ann spent a great deal of time with us, explaining the coverage a few times. We appreciated her patience and willingness to keep explaining even when we were surely annoyingly dense. She helped us choose us a medically-underwritten plan that meets our needs and provides coverage all over the US.
And there’s more great news! Now that our policy is in place, Lou Ann and the team will continue to advocate for us, and help us to maximize our benefits!
During our domicile change, we saved money on a lot of things. Medical insurance, unfortunately, was not one of those things because we lost the subsidies provided by our previous home state. However, we are confident that Lou Ann helped us find the right coverage for us, and though we left the stationary, subsidy life behind us, we are very pleased with our decision.
A Word of Advice from Lou Ann
Actually, she had many many words of advice. But this one is in addition to any coverage help she gave us. She told us to ask for the cash price for medical assistance. For example, if we find ourselves in the position of needing an MRI or something, there is a good chance that the cash price may end up costing less than the deductible through insurance. Crazy, huh?!
One more thing
In 2020 a law was passed that required hospitals to provide clear information about the prices of certain procedures. This should make it easier for we consumers to decide where to go, right? Unfortunately, as of this writing, the information is still widely unavailable and quite obscure.