Finding healthcare is often one of the biggest roadblocks people have when they’re considering going full-time, especially if you’re self-employed (or want to be self-employed). As full-time RVers, house sitters, digital nomads, we’re helping you navigate your options!
That’s right, today we’re talking about health insurance for full-time travelers, RVers, house sitters, and digital nomads. This is a topic that gets a lot of questions, because it can be confusing, difficult, and expensive!
So, we are going to be talking about the different ways, and the different options you have for health insurance if you’re traveling.
Even though having health insurance is required now by the Affordable Care Act in the United States, it’s really critical that you have it. Even if it wasn’t required, you should have a health insurance plan in place. Why? Health care costs are so expensive, that if you have one sickness, or accident, illness, then it can throw off your entire finances.
It could actually destroy your finances, depending on what happens. Even just an overnight stay in a hospital could run you over $10,000, and once you factor in the costs of the tests and the medicine and all that, so it’s really important to have health insurance in place.
Pin this for later!
Employer Provided Health Insurance
If you’re employed, this is pretty easy for you. Most employers, if you’re working full-time hours, provide some type of health insurance benefits for their employees. Typically that plan would cover you even if you’re out of state.
I’d recommend that if you have health insurance, you call your health insurance provider, and just confirm that if you are to be out of state, and something were to happen to you, that that would be covered.
Some insurance policies will consider out of state illnesses, or care, to be either emergency, or out of network, and that could be really expensive for you. Some may not even cover it at all. So, it’s really important that you make sure whichever health plan you choose, it will cover you even if you’re out of state. And if you’re a full-time traveler, then most likely you’re going to be out of state!
Retirees on the Road
If you’re retired, it’s a little bit easier for you. Medicare or Medicare Supplement Plans are typically covered in all 50 states, but again, it depends on what type of plan you have. It’s important that you confirm the fact that if you’re traveling out of state, that you’re going to be covered.
Self Employed Health Insurance Options
This is where things start to get tricky, and they start to get expensive!
One of the nice things about your employer providing an employer plan, is that they cover quite a bit of the cost of the health insurance plan. So if you’re employed, you might be used to paying $100, $200, $250 a month for health insurance. Still expensive, but if you look at what your employer’s paying in, it’s probably quite a bit more. That’s why health insurance from an employer is such a huge benefit.
When you’re self-employed, you’re pretty much responsible for that full brunt of the insurance payment. In addition, finding a plan that will cover you out of state is a bit tricky.
Start with healthcare.gov, the health insurance exchange site. You can shop around to see what your plan options are for your state. Since health insurance plans vary by state, this can be a reason why some people choose to set up their domicile in a different state once they start traveling.
Let’s back up. You might know that when you’re traveling full-time, depending on your circumstances, you can choose to be a resident of Texas, or Florida, or South Dakota. Those are some of the popular states for RVers and full-time travelers to set up their residence in, because of a few different reasons.
But since health insurance options change with which state you’re a resident of, you might choose a domicile state based on which health care plan option you want/need.
To recap, start with healthcare.gov, shop around with your options, and make sure to call to find out if you will be covered if you run into any kind of illness, or accident, or need to see a healthcare provider out of state. Otherwise, it could get really expensive for you.
Health Sharing Ministries
There is one other option, called Health Sharing Ministries. Health Sharing Ministries are not technically insurance, but they operate very similarly. The reason I say they’re not technically insurance, is because they do fall outside the realm by law of insurance, so they may not be required to cover you in certain circumstances.
If you’re a member, you pay a monthly premium to be a part of the program, and that premium goes to share with other members who have submitted their healthcare bills.
One of the most attractive things about these companies is that the monthly cost can be really low. Coverage for both Tracy and I is right around $300 per month for Liberty HealthShare, that’s who we use. Another benefit is they will cover you in all 50 states, which is great!
Now, there are some drawbacks. One being that they typically don’t cover preexisting conditions, at least for the first few years. They also have certain requirements like, some may require you to be Christian. Some may require you to not smoke, or not drink excessively. They want you to live a generally healthy lifestyle, so that their cost of covering you are much cheaper, and it’s cheaper for everyone else involved that’s a member.
Having said that, this could be a really nice option for you. I think if you are young and healthy, and you don’t typically use your health insurance that much, this is a great, inexpensive way for you to get coverage just in case you have a sudden illness, or you have an accident, or something of that nature. But, it’s really not designed for people that have long-term, chronic illnesses.
That’s a brief overview of the health insurance options for you if you’re a traveler. Plan options depend on whether you’re employed or not and the state you’re living in. Hopefully this gives you a little bit of a direction on where to go, if you’re thinking about health insurance and/or traveling full-time. If you have any comments, or questions feel free to leave them in the video, and we’ll be sure to respond to you, or reach out to us at the Money Smart Nomad, and we’d be glad to help. Thanks!
In other news…..
FREE MONEY TIPS FOR NOMADS
Budget Template Included!
Enter your e-mail below to receive a series of e-mail tips on how to prepare financially for a nomadic lifestyle. Even if you're already traveling full-time, these tips are great way to double-check your plan!