Health Insurance for Full Time RVers [and Van Lifers!]: Our Epic Guide

In this article, we cover the ins and outs of health insurance for full-time RVers. We also provide a few tips for how to save money on healthcare while being self-sufficient.

The south dakota full time rv health insurance is a guide that helps people who are full-time RVers or van lifers to find affordable health insurance.

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Full-time employees must have health insurance. RVers and van lifers are notoriously difficult to understand. Especially for those of us under the age of 65 who are not eligible for Medicare. 

Because full-time RVers and van lifers travel so much, having health insurance that only works in our home state makes no sense. Who wants to go across the nation for a doctor’s appointment?

@GreenVanGo’s Hillary Bird voiced her dissatisfaction: “It’s been a nightmare figuring out health insurance,” she added. “In New Hampshire, where I constructed the vehicle, I just had Medicaid. So it’s virtually worthless until I’m in that state.”

So, what does an RVer do? Do you have short-term coverage? Is there such a thing as a fixed indemnity plan? What about a non-profit health-sharing organization? 

I aim to clarify the air on health insurance choices for full-time RVers and van lifers in this article. You’ll be able to make an educated choice and choose what’s best for you.

Health Insurance Options for Full-Time RVers and Van Lifers

Following that, we’ll look at the many kinds of health insurance available to full-time RVers. What you choose is completely based on your unique circumstances. When it comes to RVer health insurance, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution.

The individual requirement to buy health insurance was repealed in 2020, therefore you won’t be penalized if you don’t have conventional health insurance. 

Health Insurance Plans Under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

One health insurance option for full-time RVers is the Affordable Care Act, often known as Obamacare. The ACA’s major flaw is that, with the exception of Florida, it generally only operates in your own state.

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Florida is the only state in the US that still provides national ACA coverage, making it a favorite nomads’ home state.

“Florida offers the Florida Blue Plans, which are an EPO-hybrid and have opened up their doctor networks a lot wider than other states,” said Andrew Monk, who sets together customized health insurance plans for RVers at Monk Health Insurance Advising. “If you want an ACA plan, Florida is an excellent place to go to.”

For certain individuals with pre-existing illnesses or who need to visit a doctor on a regular basis, the Affordable Care Act makes sense. People with pre-existing illnesses or those who develop a severe ailment cannot be denied coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

RVers with a low enough income to qualify for subsidies will benefit most from ACA coverage. If you’re a high-earning remote worker, the ACA may be too costly.

If you’re moving states to start RVing or living in a van, be sure the state you’re moving to offers health insurance choices you can utilize. 

I recently learned that in South Dakota, anybody without a physical address is not eligible for insurance. If you use a personal mailbox like America’s Mailbox or ChooseSD, both insurance providers are aware.

TIP: If you want to stay on track with the Affordable Care Act, open a Health Savings Account (HSA) to pay for medical expenditures tax-free. A Health Savings Account’s funds may also be invested, so you can profit from your contributions. Your HSA may be used to pay for deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, prescriptions, eyeglasses, and other medical expenses. The annual contribution maximum is approximately $3,500, which may be invested.

This is the finest website to sift among plans under the Affordable Care Act: HealthSherpa.com 

Advantages of Affordable Care Act Plans include:

  • Even if you have pre-existing problems, they will accept you.
  • If you have a high risk of diabetes, stroke, heart attack, or cancer, this is an excellent safety net.
  • If you have a low enough salary, you can afford it.
  • They provide the same level of protection as conventional health insurance policies.
  • You won’t have to pay any more money out of pocket after you’ve met your deductible.
  • Regulated by the government

ACA plans’ drawbacks include:

  • Except for ER visits, you must return to your domicile state for treatment unless you are domiciled in Florida on the Florida Blue Plan.
  • It is possible to have a large deductible.
  • If you don’t qualify for subsidies, it may be very costly.

Plans with a Fixed Indemnity Value

Fixed Indemnity policies are becoming more popular among full-time RVers as a health-care alternative. These plans are available throughout the nation and provide a set benefit for a variety of treatments and diseases.

Fixed Indemnity plans are appropriate for individuals who are generally healthy and are willing to take a little more risk with their health insurance.

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Fixed Indemnity insurance were created to help patients who have lost income due to sickness or industry. According to the Brookings Institute, they were never intended to be utilized as a single source of health coverage. 

Here’s how a Fixed Indemnity Plan could operate in practice: A maximum of $250,000 per covered person per year is allowed, plus $2,000 per day for a hospital stay and $75 each medical visit. Fixed indemnity policies pay per service or per day spent in the hospital or receiving treatment.

This kind of strategy, however, is not for everyone. “If you have cancer, you’re looking at $1-2 million per year in treatment for the first two years, and a fixed indemnity plan isn’t going to cover that,” Monk said. 

“In certain fixed indemnity products, the plan will almost always leave customers exposed to substantial extra costs: policies that pay $500 per day of hospitalization or $700 per operation will leave most patients exposed to extremely high costs,” according to the Brookings Institute.

That is why Fixed Indemnity Plans are less expensive than the Affordable Care Act’s plans. The insurance firm may charge less for coverage since it knows precisely how much risk it will take on (and how much money it will lose).

If you’re concerned that you’ll go over your annual limit, you may “level up” to put on extra coverage for accidental injury or sickness.

Geoff Matthews, a full-time RVer, creates Fixed Indemnity health insurance policies for full-timers. One insurance plan he mentioned had many distinct “layers” you could add to your policy. Here’s an example of what you may want to include:

  • If you suffer an accident within 24 hours, you will get a $4,000 reimbursement for medical costs and up to $10,000 for an ambulance trip.
  • Critical Illness: If you are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, you will get a cash payout. The business would provide you a cheque for $30,000 that you may spend anyway you choose.
  • Catastrophic Accident and Disease: After paying out $50,000 for your accident or sickness, the insurance company would make another $500,000 available to cover your accident or disease. 

As you can see, you may build up your coverage by layering on more choices. Fixed Indemnity health insurance plans for full-time RVers are great since they’re quite flexible and can be tailored to your specific requirements.

However, make sure you read the small print and understand the risks involved with Fixed Indemnity Plans.

If you’d like to speak with an insurance professional about obtaining a Fixed Indemnity Plan, we suggest that you:

Advantages of Fixed Indemnity Plans include:

  • They provide insurance coverage all across the country.
  • If you get severely sick or wounded, some policies allow you to upgrade.
  • ACA policies are more expensive.
  • You may tailor a plan and deductible to your own requirements and risk tolerance.
  • You may shop around for the greatest price on a non-urgent surgery or therapy.

Fixed Indemnity Plans’ Drawbacks:

  • Only a certain amount is covered for different services and treatments.
  • If you over your set amount, you may be liable for a large sum of money.
  • Most health insurance rules are not applicable to them.
  • Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions is possible. 

RVers and Van Lifers may get short-term health insurance.

Short-term health insurance for full-time RVers is another alternative. People who are between employment or health insurance policies may get short-term health insurance. It wasn’t designed to be your only source of health coverage. 

1623693987_905_Health-Insurance-for-Full-Time-RVers-and-Van-Lifers-OurMike and Laura are youthful RVers that travel for a limited time. @mikeandlauratravelblog photo

Andrew Monk, a health insurance specialist, strongly advises against purchasing short-term health insurance. “On the first month of his plan’s cycle, a customer on a short-term plan was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer. For two months, he had great coverage, but suddenly the business abandoned him.” 

Unfortunately, insurance firms have become a little sneaky with short-term insurance policies, and they aren’t obliged to declare that they are providing one.

Unfortunately, insurance firms have become a little sneaky with short-term insurance policies, and they aren’t obliged to declare that they are providing one.

Unfortunately, insurance firms have become a little sneaky with short-term insurance policies, and they aren’t obliged to declare that they are providing one.

They were both 30 years old and paying $600 each month for health insurance via IMG Global and Liberty Healthshare, respectively. When the necessity came, neither business would pay for the costs. 

“We realized we were already paying out of pocket for our routine visits, so why spend $600+ a month for health insurance that wouldn’t cover us?” Laura said.

So the two switched to a Pivot Health is a company that focuses on health. short-term catastrophic plan, which costs just $80 per month. “Anything above $10,000 is insured, but anything less that is our responsibility. Every year, it has saved us thousands of dollars.”

If you’re looking for short-term insurance, here are two prominent firms to consider:

Pivot Health

United Healthcare is a healthcare company based in the

Short-Term Insurance Benefits:

  • Cheap
  • Nationwide
  • Good coverage for the plan’s terms

Short-Term Insurance’s Drawbacks

  • Once your contract is over, they may simply remove you from their plan.
  • If you are severely wounded or sick, it is very dangerous.
  • Copays and deductibles may be expensive.
  • Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions is possible.

Non-Profit Medical Cost Sharing Organizations for RVers and Van Lifers

Non-profit health cost-sharing groups have grown in popularity in recent years. They’re usually less expensive than ACA plans, but they’re not legally obligated to fulfill their clients’ claims. 

Health-Insurance-for-Full-Time-RVers-and-Van-Lifers-OurStoryChasing’s Amber Baldwin utilizes Zion Health is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving Share.

It works like this: every month, you contribute money into a pool, and that pool is used to pay for members’ medical costs.

However, hardly everything is addressed, and much of what is presented is related to Christian principles. Some medical sharing ministries, for example, may refuse to pay for birth control or even maternity care if the child is born out of marriage. Some ministries have yearly or lifetime limitations or restrictions on the kind of services they will provide.

All health-sharing non-profits, on the other hand, vary in what they cover and don’t cover. Before enrolling in one of these health-care plans, we suggest reading the small print. 

[Download this paper prepared by health insurance specialist Andrew Monk to learn more about the differences between health sharing and conventional insurance.]

Liberty Healthshare is one business we recommend avoiding. We’ve heard from a lot of RVers who have been denied coverage. Here’s a story of one RVer’s adventure. We advise you to stay away from such company.

Other RVers and van lifers, on the various hand, extol the virtues of other health-sharing non-profits. Here are a few you may want to investigate:

Zion Health

Zion Health has excellent internet ratings and is a health-sharing company in which I am especially interested. They don’t turn anybody away because of a past physical condition or religious views. There are no lifetime sharing limits, and they even split expenses paid outside of the United States.

You have three options to select from. You’ll be liable for $1,000 for the first three times you require medical treatment if you choose the first choice. Following that, Zion is responsible for everything. Your obligation is $2,500 if you choose the second choice, and $5,000 if you choose the third. The more you pay up front, the cheaper your monthly cost will be.

What I appreciate about Zion is that they cover all preventive care completely. Furthermore, all Teledoc appointments are free, and prescriptions may be obtained via this kind of consultation.

Amber Baldwin of the YouTube channel StoryChasing lives in a Dodge Hymer campervan and has thus far been quite pleased with Zion Health. Her conventional health insurance used to cost her $600 each month. “I’m a healthy adult, and it didn’t make sense for me to spend so much for something that I essentially used for preventive care.”

“I heard about one man who had prostate cancer and Zion paid for everything,” she replied when I asked whether she was concerned that Zion might refuse to pay out.

There is a pre-existing condition phase-in time in Zion. For example, Zion pays for nothing for the first year, then up to $25,000 the second year, $50,000 the following year, and so on.

Visit Zion Health by clicking here.

Health Sharing for RVers by Samaritan Ministries

Classic and Basic are the two tiers of plans offered by Samaritan Ministries. You just have to spend $400 with Samaritan Classic before Samaritan covers 100% of your expenses. Samaritan Basic has a cheaper monthly cost, but you’ll have to spend $1,500 out of pocket before Samaritan kicks in and covers 90%.

1623693989_664_Health-Insurance-for-Full-Time-RVers-and-Van-Lifers-OurKristi Corder and her family are RVers who utilize Samaritan Ministries is a Christian organization that helps those in need.

This healthshare gives out a maximum of $230,000-$250,000 per year to each member. If your costs surpass those limits, you’ll need to ask for extra assistance.

You may discover what Samaritan Ministries considers to be shared needs by clicking here.

Way Beyond the Norm RVer Kristi Corder is thrilled with her Samaritan Ministries membership. For a family of five, she pays $500 each month.

Here’s what she had to say about it: 

“Eight years ago, our daughter suffered a medical emergency that cost us over $15,000 in out-of-pocket costs despite having conventional health insurance. We knew then that if we had simply said that we were uninsured, our entire emergency room and surgical cost would have been reduced to less than the $15,000 we owed WITH insurance coverage. As a result, we no longer have insurance and have moved to Samaritan Ministries.

“Because we were not members at the time of the event, we submitted our daughter’s $15,000 in hospital bills to Samaritan as a “special prayer need,” asking other believers to 1) pray that we would be able to pay the bills, and 2) to donate whatever little amount if they were able and felt prompted to give.

“Within a month, we had received 90 percent of the funds required to pay those expenses. ‘If this works so well for a specific prayer need, how much better can it work for real publishable needs?’ we reasoned. Since then, we’ve been happy with our membership.”

Christian Healthshare Ministries is another health share worth looking into. 

Medical Cost Sharing Benefits:

  • More cost-effective than alternative choices
  • Some people are covered for costs all across the country, while others are covered for expenses all over the globe.
  • Some plans pay for 100% of preventive care.
  • No additional fee for unlimited Teledoc visits

Medical Cost Sharing’s Drawbacks:

  • Because this isn’t health insurance, the organization isn’t obligated to cover your medical expenses.
  • Insurance companies have the right to refuse to cover pre-existing conditions.
  • It has a limited scope of coverage; you must read the small print.
  • There is no government supervision.

Accident Insurance/No Insurance at All

Accident Insurance/No Insurance at All

1623693990_302_Health-Insurance-for-Full-Time-RVers-and-Van-Lifers-OurAccident Insurance/No Insurance at All

Accident Insurance/No Insurance at All 

“Instead, I chose Spot’s accident injury coverage, which costs less than $28 per month! Unlike lots of other injury coverage programs, this one covers most extreme sports like rock climbing or wilderness kayaking,” said Ross.

He said that continuing to pay the expensive rates connected with health insurance made no sense since he hadn’t visited a doctor’s office in 15 years. 

Ross said, “I’m hard to break and very healthy, so I didn’t need conventional health insurance.” “Catastrophic insurance prices were still expensive; Spot was perfect! The $20,000 per-incident coverage will cover 90% of any injuries I may get while outdoors.”

Naturally, this is the riskiest kind of insurance since it does not protect you for unexpected illnesses such as cancer, heart attack, or stroke.

Learn more about Spot Injury Insurance by clicking here.

What do you think of Safety Wing?

We saw Safety Wing mentioned in a few of blog articles on the best health insurance for full-time RVers, so we wanted to learn more about it.

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Safety Wing is a travel insurance business that just launched Remote Health, a health insurance program for digital nomads. At first sight, it seems to be a good deal, with complete cancer coverage, surgeries, COVID, and other benefits for just $250.

Here’s what their website has to say about Remote Health, which makes it sound like a great option:

“A comprehensive health insurance plan designed for remote workers and nomads who spend as much time as they like overseas. Full coverage in your own nation, with no pandemic exclusions.”

However, you must reside in the United States to be eligible for this coverage. You must have a physical address outside of the United States and be able to verify it with a rental/lease agreement, bank statement, VISA card, or evidence of post office rental.

You may then tack on a “U.S.” add-on, which provides coverage for up to six months in the United States. However, your actual address cannot be in the United States.

I received a fast estimate for myself, and my monthly coverage with the U.S. add-on is over $400 as a 40-year-old woman. This does not cover any outpatient treatment, such as physicals, preventive care, or urgent care; only in-patient care, in which I would be admitted to a hospital, is covered.

So this software didn’t make sense to me, and I can’t see how helpful it would be for full-time RVers or van lifers.

Only if you’re an RVer who spends part of the year renting an apartment outside of the nation would this work. You may use that address as your main residence and then RV for up to six months in the United States.

To discover more about Safety Wing’s Remote Health, click here.

What if you’re a full-time RVer who also travels the globe portion of the year?

One issue I have when considering health insurance as a van lifer is that I spend six months of the year aboard a yacht in Mexico. As a result, I only need U.S. healthcare for 6 months of the year in the event that I get sick or injured.

A few businesses provide a hybrid of health insurance that may be used everywhere in the globe, including the United States. This is really health insurance, not travel insurance. 

I won’t go into detail about these alternatives since I believe they apply to a smaller number of RVers and van lifers, but if you’re interested, here are some links to look out:

You can use travel insurance if you’re just going on brief foreign excursions. 

Things to Consider When Choosing Health Insurance as a Van Lifer or Full-Time RVer

Before you select the finest health insurance plan for life on the road, consider the following advice and recommendations.

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As a result, choose your domicile state wisely.

When they go full-time, many RVers and van lifers opt to move states. South Dakota, Texas, and Florida are the top three states for nomads, owing to a lack of state income tax, lower registration and insurance expenses, and less stringent car inspections. 

You should think about health insurance while deciding where you want to call home. If being a member of the Affordable Care Act and having national health insurance is essential to you, you should consider relocating to Florida. That is the only state in the United States that provides such coverage.

If you don’t care about the Affordable Care Act, your domicile state won’t matter since you may enroll in a Fixed Indemnity Plan or a Health Sharing Plan.

They told me that both major medical insurance in South Dakota would not accept a personal mailbox, and they are aware of every business providing PMBs to RVers when I asked about being on ACA coverage. 

Telehealth is something to look for.

For full-time RVers and van lifers, telehealth is an excellent health insurance alternative. Many plans include telehealth as a benefit, which you may utilize an unlimited number of times. Telehealth is an excellent way to ask a doctor questions and even have a prescription delivered to a nearby drugstore.

Telehealth is available via several ACA policies, Fixed Indemnity Plans, and Health Share Plans.

Telehealth may also be purchased through a business like Teledoc. 

Determine your risk tolerance.

Assessing your risk tolerance is an important part of choosing the best health insurance for full-time RVing. How much are you prepared to risk if you get a life-threatening disease such as cancer? Do you wish to put your faith in a medical sharing non-profit to cover your expenses? What will you do if they refuse to cover your expenses?

The cost of health insurance is proportional to the level of risk. 

“When you buy an insurance policy, whether it’s for a vehicle, a house, an RV, or health insurance, you’re asking a business to cover a risk,” Andrew Monk said. “The danger of being ill or wounded is covered by health insurance. Cost and risk are linked. The higher-priced policies are most likely more expensive because the insurance provider is taking on greater risk.” 

Most ACA plans, for example, are more expensive than Fixed Indemnity since that business will cover ALL OF YOUR BILLS once you reach your deductible, even if you need millions of dollars in cancer treatments. 

Make a contingency plan.

You never know when you’ll be struck by sickness or accident, so having some money on hand is essential. According to several RV sites, you should establish a Health Savings Account (HSA) so you may put money in it before taxes to pay for medical treatment.

Keep in mind that Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are only compatible with Affordable Care Act plans. 

They can’t be used in conjunction with Fixed Indemnity, Short Term, or Medical Sharing companies.

It’s a good idea to have some money set aside for medical emergencies – at the very least, enough to cover your deductible. 

So, what kind of health insurance do I have?

I’m still trying to find out which health insurance plan is ideal for a van lifer and sailor who lives part-time in the United States and part-time in Mexico as of May 2021.

1623693994_526_Health-Insurance-for-Full-Time-RVers-and-Van-Lifers-OurWhile living in a van, I’m attempting to maintain my health.

I’m considering joining Zion Health since they cover preventive care and expenditures incurred abroad of the United States. I’ll probably back this up with a strategy that includes search and rescue as well as possible Coast Guard evacuation in the event of an accident or injury at sea. 

As a healthy individual who solely visits the doctor for preventive care, I’m hopeful that a combo plan like this would meet my requirements.

I’ll keep this page updated as I learn more about the best health insurance choices for life on the road and on the water.

Resources:

  • RVerInsuranceExchange.com is a fantastic resource for interacting with insurance brokers and researching a variety of policies. 
  • Andrew Monk is a health insurance expert that assists RVers in finding policies that are tailored to their specific requirements.
  • Geoff Matthews is a full-time RVer who specializes in assisting RVers in obtaining fixed indemnity insurance.

Check out these other articles:

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Kristin Hanes is a journalist who started The Wayward Home as a resource for those interested in alternative lifestyles. She now lives on a yacht and in a Chevy Astro van, and has written pieces for Good Housekeeping, Business Insider, Marie Claire, and SF Gate on alternative living. Here’s where you can learn more about Kristin.

The catastrophic health insurance is the best option for full time RVers. It protects you from huge medical bills and can save your life if something catastrophic happens.

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