I finally did it, I signed up for Health Insurance. I didn’t want to but the time has come and I just felt like had no choice. Obamacare is so confusing to me that last year I decided I would rather pay the penalty than try to figure it all out, so I didn’t sign up. But this year I’ve decided to bite the bullet and sign up for four main reasons.
- This year I’m going to turn 60, and that is a very, very scary number! Most young men suffer from a feeling of invincibility, “I won’t get sick” and I think that describes me. However, the idea of turning 60 has a strong psychological power that’s broken through that. I’m finally ready to believe that statistically, in the next decade, I probably will get sick or injured. After that, when I’m in my seventies, a major illness is nearly a certainty. Health insurance is starting to sound pretty good!
- The penalty is going up and it’ll cost me nearly as much as simply paying for insurance. There is a minimum penalty, which isn’t bad, but if you make more than the poverty level the penalty increases. Because I actually have a taxable income, my penalty could be fairly high.
- I think I have a little better idea of what’s going on with health care. I’m actually a fairly slow learner and over the last year I’ve pieced together a basic understanding of Obamacare.
- Right now through December 15, 2014 is the open enrollment period for Obamacare at healthcare.gov. If I’m going to do it, now is the time.
For all those reasons I’ve decided to get it and I just went through the process of signing up. I’m still no expert, but since it’s an important topic for all of us I thought I’d share my experience. But don’t take my word for everything you see here, do your own research and reach your own decision on what’s best for you.
I don’t want this to turn into a debate about Obamacare, like it or not, it’s here to stay and my goal is to help people take advantage of it and not to fight about whether it’s right or wrong. Those comments belong on another website, not this one. Only helpful comments will be allowed.
Here are the basics as I understand them:
- You have to have health insurance of some kind or pay a penalty. There are a few exceptions, but not many. If you’re covered at work or have Medicare or Veterans benefits, you’re covered already so you don’t need to do anything. This post only applies to people who are not covered by some form of health insurance.
- If you’re low income, the Federal government is offering subsidies to help you pay for health care. As usual, the less you make the more help they give you. But, don’t think you have to be at the poverty level to get it, you don’t. I make $26,000 a year and I qualified for a monthly subsidy of $324. I found a very cheap plan that cost $419 and so my monthly cost out of pocket is only $95. You might be throwing away money the government wants to give to you; you owe it to yourself to go to the site and find out.
- To get the subsidies, you have to go to healthcare.gov and enroll (click here: https://www.healthcare.gov/). Like most of you, I was concerned that it was going to be a nightmare to get through it, but really, it was no big deal. You just answer all the questions, and do what you are told to do and before you know it you’ve set up an account. The hardest thing was they ask you a series of questions to verify that you really are who you claim to be. Some of them were negative, in other words they asked me a question and the answer was none-of-the-above. Apparently they are tied into the IRS database because they asked, “Which of these did you ever work for…” about an employer I had back in the 70s-80s. No one would know that but me.
- Some of the questions they will ask is about your expected income for 2015. Since I’m self-employed, that was a little bit of guess-work, but I answered based on what I made last year and a little bit more. Once you’ve told them your expected income for 2015, they’ll tell you how much of a subsidy you qualify for, which in my case was $324 a month.
- Once you’ve set up your account and determined your subsidy, you’ll see a button to take you to the Marketplace/Exchange where you chose an insurance plan and enroll in it. As far as I know, the only way to get the subsidies is to go through this process and chose one of the plans that they list for you. There are many other plans available off of the Exchange, but these are the only ones that you can get a subsidy for.
Two important considerations when choosing an account:
1) Consider a High Deductible Policy with a Health Savings Account
I can’t tell you what you should do but I wanted the cheapest policy I could get and that’s a High Deductible, Catastrophic care plan. I don’t want health insurance to cover my annual, non-emergency medical needs. If I decide I want them, I’ll just pay for them myself. What I do want is health insurance to cover the catastrophic care that will either kill or bankrupt me. Things like a major accident, heart disease, cancer, strokes or diabetes. Many of those things are fairly treatable, but the cost is astronomical and will ruin you. I want insurance to cover those things and nothing else, so the plan I chose has a $6,250 deductible and it will cost me $95 a month after the government subsidy. I don’t ever plan to use it until a major disease or accident strikes. When, not if, that happens I want it to cover all of my costs and this plan does. After the deductible, it will pay 100% of all my costs, period. That’s exactly what I want.
But you can easily spend the money on non-medical costs. For example, let’s say your van breaks down and you have to take $1000 out to fix it. No problem! There are no penalties, but you will have to pay taxes on the $1000. So you deferred the taxes but didn’t avoid them. That means you have nothing to lose by putting the money in an HSA, but you may gain significant tax advantages. Any interest the accounts earns stays in the account and is yours to use tax-free for medical expenses. At the end of the year all the money in the account rolls over to the next year. The idea is that you will build it up over the years until you have enough in it to cover the high deductible on your Insurance Policy. Since my policy doesn’t cover dental or glasses, I can use the money from the HSA to cover them, effectively making them a tax deduction whether I itemize or not.
2) Look for a Nationwide Policy.
Obamacare is complex for all of us, but if you live in a van or an RV it’s exceptionally complex. Why? Because most insurance companies only cover you if you go to a Doctor in their network and their network is only in your home state. If you live full-time in one state and don’t travel much, that’s not a problem for you at all; you just find a doctor near you and stay with him. But because many of us travel a great deal, we may not often be present in our home state. For example, many full-timers are residents of South Dakota, but can go years without being in the state. I’m a resident of Nevada, but I haven’t set foot in the state in over two years. If an insurance policy won’t cover me when I’m out of state, and I’m always out of state, it’s worthless to me.
I’m a Nevada resident, and none of the health insurance companies in Nevada offer a nation-wide plan. My problem is this is the only open-enrollment period for this year so I must enroll now and that doesn’t leave me time to move my state of residence. What I’ve decided to do is roll the dice and get the cheapest plan I can find under the pretty safe assumption I won’t need it this year. Then, this coming year, I’ll change my residency to a state that is RVer friendly and has a company in it that offers a Nationwide Health Insurance Policy.
There are three top states most of us choose as our residential domicile: South Dakota, Texas and Florida. Fortunately, both Texas and Florida are so large they have several good insurance companies that offer nationwide plans on the Exchange so I can get government subsidies. Unfortunately, South Dakota (one of the most popular states for full-timers) does not. For that reason, many full-timers are planning to move their state of residence to either Florida or Texas, including me. I’m planning to visit my mom in February and while I’m there I may become a Florida resident. Escapees is now in Florida so I will use them as a mail service and my mom’s house as my residence. Then, next year during open enrollment, I’ll change insurance companies to a Florida plan. Florida has many policies on the Exchange that offer nationwide plans and they have just about the cheapest insurance in the country.
My standard advice has been to choose a state of residence based on how close it is to your normal travels; which is why I chose Nevada; they don’t have any income taxes or vehicle inspections which met my most basic requirements, but just as important, I’m usually within a few hours of it. For example, right now I’m near Quartzsite and I can be in Laughlin, Nevada in less than three hours. I spend a lot of my summers near Flagstaff, AZ and that’s only 4 hours from Laughlin. So for about half my year I can easily get to Nevada for my health care needs. What about the other half when I might be far away? The plan I chose pays half of your costs even when you’re out-of-network in another state, so no matter where I am in the country, I get some insurance. But they also pay to transport you to an in-network facility.
I wasn’t clear on exactly what that meant so I called and asked a representative and she told me it means that if I am in a different state, they will pay 100% of emergency room and 50% of everything else after the deductible. But, they also cover the costs of medical transport to get you back into the system. For example, if I’m in an accident in Las Vegas and I’m taken to the nearest hospital that isn’t in the system, after I’m stabilized, they’ll pay to transport me to a hospital that is in the system where they’ll pay 100%. So I told the representative that last year I was in Alaska, and asked her if I had a heart attack while I was there, would they pay to transport me to an In-System facility in Nevada? Her answer was they would deal with it on a case-by-case basis depending on which would be the least expensive. If flying me back from Alaska was tremendously expensive, they would simply cover the cost of paying for my care in Alaska until I was able to get to Nevada on my own and see an In-Network doctor. While that isn’t a true nationwide plan, it may be very nearly as good. If it is, I might be content to remain a Nevada resident and keep this policy.
I know that’s a lot of information, but if you currently don’t have any health insurance I think you really should take a little time and go to healthcare.gov and set up an account. You might be very pleasantly surprised at how affordable health insurance can be with the governments subsidies.
The HSA is awesome. I’ve never heard of it before, which surprises me. That is a great deal as I don’t have enough deductions to warrant itemizing.
I checked out the health care plan, but I make too much and don’t qualify for subsidies. If I were to get sick enough to cover the deductible then add in the monthly payments, that would be a little over $10,000 per year for me. That doesn’t include copays, general medical checkups and other medical care not covered, and other fees that come with health care. That is too big a bridge for me now.
The penalty for me will be $320, so I opted to take the penalty and use my money to continue paying off my current medical debt. After I get my bills paid (is there such a thing as not having bills? Lol.), I will reconsider insurance.
Canine, yeah, not everyone will get subsidies and I think there are a whole lot of people in your situation, they make too much to get help but not enough to be able to afford insurance. So you will have to pay the penalty. Just think, your penalty will just about cover one month of insurance for me. Thank you!
Is that the penalty you will pay this year or next? I believe it goes up a lot next year.
That penalty will be for this year. I need to check out what the cost will be for next year. I’m waiting for a couple months to see what will change before I try to nail down a specific cost either way.
I don’t have any details, but I think I’ve heard it’s going to double this year. I didn’t want to risk it.
Bob, I applaud you for going through the effort of getting health coverage. At the risk of sounding political I have felt since I became aware, that every American should have reasonable health coverage from the cradle to the grave. We’re not there yet but we are going in the general direction.
jonthebru, it’s a complex subject and a good argument can be made both pro and con. Either way, Obamacare is here and a done-deal so we should probably take full advantage of it.
Great information Bob, thank you. But where did you get a HSA? I checked with the four banks we have some sort of accounts with, and none offer Health Savings Accounts.
Tom, I’m still researching that an haven’t done it yet since I don’t actually have the insurance policy yet. But I bank with Bank of America and they offer them. Here is a link to it:
Thanks, Bob. Yes B of A just returned my email and they also state they offer HSA for High Deductible health insurance. Maybe Wells Fargo too, but we’re no too keen on that bank.
So glad you posted this, I’ve known about HSA, but you explain it better then anyone I’ve talked to, including the banks. They’ve also explained that HSA would be mostly protected in a lawsuit and bankruptcy… much like n IRA.
Tom, I’ve been a fan of HSAs for awhile and I’ve thought that they were a better solution to the health care problem than Obamacare. I’ve also thought they were poorly explained and not well communicated. Few people have heard of them and eve fewer understood them.
Oh well, Obamacare is here to stay and we’ll have to wait and see the long term impact it has.
If your income is below poverty levels, you don’t get any subsidy.
Right, Ellen. it doesn’t apply to me so I didn’t look into it, but I believe they put you onto Medicare rather than buy insurance.
You might qualify for Medicaid, but you don’t qualify for Medicare until you are 65. Medicare Part A, hospital insurance, is free, and Parts B and D (doctors and prescriptions) charge premiums that get larger each year that you delay signing up after your turn 65. The part B and D (part C was long-term care insurance that was repealed) insurance premiums can increase annually, and higher premiums are charged to higher income earners, but there is also a penalty rate if you don’t sign up at 65.
Thanks Ripley, I really know nothing about either Medicare/Medicaid and you just explained it really well.
If you live in one of the states that has expanded Medicare, yes. Otherwise no, you are sol and thanks for playing.
This page has a map showing which states have expanded Medicare, which are using alternatives to Medicare and which 1 is trying to get a waiver. It’s important information for those of us who have very limited income.
Thanks Ellen, that’s good information for the very low income.
I’ve had individual health insurance for three years now. I pay approximately $300 for health and dental, and it’s a fairly decent policy. I won’t go into details (because I don’t remember most of them …) , but it does help with basic, preventative stuff, etc. It does, however, have a $10,000 deductible for catastrophic illness/injury.
***What really helped me was when the insurance agent suggested an additional policy that would pay $10,000 if I actually incurred $10K in expenses. You and your readers might look into that.
I hope this makes sense. Insurance of any kind makes me feel like a buffoon.
You and me both Naomi! Thanks for the tip about insurance on the insurance, I’ll have to look into it.
This is a first hand experience with Insurance and an HSA. We have a high deductible policy and in 2013, there were a bunch of health problems, including a stroke, which meant, by February the deductible was met. By July, the Insurance company had paid out over $150,000.00(this included emergency room visits and a stay in the ICU) and there were more bills to come. We were in our late 50’s then, with no history of health problems prior to that. Having insurance meant, new year, clean slate, regarding the medical bills. The policy we have covers 100% once the deductible is met. Fortunately, 2014 has been a better year. There are so many types of policies out there, and it is so confusing. Just keep asking questions until you get answers.
Foster, I’m very sorry for your health problems but thank you so much for sharing your experience. It sounds like you and I have the exact same view toward insurance. My thinking is I can come up with the $6250 deductible somehow and then knowing that the insurance covers everything else 100% is just very comforting to me.
I sadly discovered that I don’t qualify for anything. Many states now offer ‘extended medicaid’ , which those of us that qualify for food stamps, can probably get. Florida is NOT one of those states. I didn’t qualify for anything from the ‘marketplace’, as too low of income. I have a friend that lives in Nevada, and is covered under the extended medicaid. Soooo…folks…check out which states offer coverage, when you are getting that permanent address!
The only plus side, is I don’t have to pay the fine either, for not having insurance, as I am below the income level to have it be mandatory.
Joy, I’m sorry to hear that, I had no idea that you could be too low income even to be on Medicare. I see no logic in that at all. If not for them, who is a safety net for? It might be time to change states. I saw that Arizona is offering the extended medicaid, it may be time to consider changing states.
THANK YOU. i’m on medicare. 70. i’m surrounded by people that are intimidated by part d. i spend several evenings going over drug lists and costs every year. i have no experience with aca, but i can tell you that with part d that the second year marthas rate would greatly increase. so we shop yearly. 75% or so of people just keep their original plan. a good number just say ” i have aarp” and smile. they should smile.
we actually had an aarp plan in 2014. we will be else where in 2015. we saved north of $400.00 by switching. i start looking on on the open date, no rush that way.
i see you are doing your home work on plans. good move. good move. good move. now that your playing with this. you will find this is not that complicated. it’s just not as much fun as some other things. i’ll let you use your imagination. maybe ice cream.
every penny we can save doing due diligence is a TAX FREE penny. we have paid taxes on the penny once, why do it twice? of course if anyone has extras i’ll be glad to keep an eye on them. next year will be breeze.
good on you for posting this. good on you for getting after this. it’s one thing to pay taxes. hopefully someone received services. when we pay a penalty we don’t receive as much in services. we may think we will show them, but they don’t care, they will remove some of our tax return. or eventually a tax lien. in some states we can not buy our tags. bummer.
ice cream raz
Thanks Raz, that’s all very good advice! I’m not old enough for Medicare so I really know nothing about it. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it!
I am in Joy’s situation but in Ohio, which does offer “extended” Medicaid. I am getting treatment for several conditions that suffered from years of my being uninsured.
This is a good time to mention that your domicile (official home) issues vary by situation. Here in Ohio, vehicle fees are lower,food stamps are decent (can be used in other states) and I have many friends here. Family too.I’ll have to check whether Medicaid travels, though. I have no income tax anyhow, unless I become able to work, and even then probably not much.
Calvin – smart move. There are list of states that offer EXTENDED MEDICAID for the poor. Best to get a residence in that state if you are broke (permanently injured) and cant work to pay for medical care. Making anyone with a bad back, or legs, or chronic pain suffer because they can not work and pay is too cruel.
Thanks again Offroad, you really have given a lot of great information on this topic!
Calvin, you make a good point that there are so many factors about where to domicile. For many of us taxes are a non-issue and those other things are very important. Other than the weather (YUCK!) Ohio sounds like it’s perfect for you.
Bob – general comments
1) Three days until you can not enroll as ends December 15 – for the month of January 2015. You can still enroll now up to January 15 to have health care start by February 1st for the rest of the year.
2) If you have a LIFE EVENT you can start or change your healthcare plan. The LIFE EVENT list is liberal. Move residential states, loose-get a new job, get married, have a child, have a child turn 26, etc.
3) Supreme Court might throw a curve ball into it all. Some states are challenging the subsidiary that people get for insurance. Saying that’s not what the law says, when originally crafted. Will see what happens in a year, when they make a decision. But so far obamacare is becoming entrenched into society, so likely any changes will just be slight adjustments (really hope so).
4) Great discussion about emergency room coverage and needing to be transported. You need an aggressive billing advocate when you are most vulnerable. Hospitals do charge wasteful and aggressive hyped billing. They will immediately push you to the limits of your deductible. Recovery from a heart attack might mean ICU care for days, with no ethical transport possible from the Emergency Room. Result in personal bankruptcy anyway. 50% of $100k is still a crazy dollar amount. Read story about a female who ended up at wrong hospital, who did not transport her back. She ended with $100k bill, that she personally owed.
5) There are medical consulting services you can buy for a monthly $25 to $50 that are trained nurse practitioners. They will answer all medical questions on email and on the phone. You just can not get prescriptions. Good bridge services, when all you have is catastrophic coverage, and health savings plans.
forgot to mention
6) Obamacare changed how the insurance companies can work. They can not give you false coverage, by hiding clauses in the law so they can avoid payment during major health events. That’s mostly not happening now. Most insurance companies take full advantage of the poorly crafted in state insurance regulations.
Bob- just thanks completely and sincerely for posting this article, and being clear about what you did. So much rhetoric and politics has no place in practical healthcare.
P.S. Did everyone also get a written DNA order? DO NOT RESUCITATE on your medical care, should be considered and written into a LIVING WILL. Do you want to come back half paralyzed for ten years? Or suffering in constant pain for ten years? You will if you have no DNR. Most doctors and nurses get them.
Thanks for this too, Offroad.
Yes, I’m a huge believer in a Living Will with a DNR!! Very important to have one.
Offroad, thanks so much for all that, very good info to have!
Love your site Bob!! One of my favourites around simple living. Anyways, I am Canadian and I was wondering exactly how Obamacare worked and now I understand it more and appreciate that.
I know we are lucky up here with our system although I have heard we have much higher taxes, but because I make less than 24K/yr, I don’t pay income taxes and I get our provinical health free for my family because of lower income…no deductibles or penalties. So I must say, I am envious of you all being able to live all over the way you do for 12 months of the year, where I could only do that 6 months in the US!!!..however am grateful for our health care system. My son has crohns and rheumatoid arthritis and I have met people in Crohn’s groups on facebook that are beyond broke trying to deal with these diseases in the US and my heart goes out to them. I was dating an American who did not want to have Obamacare for all his reasons of freedoms, but alas…I can still choose to pay to see a naturopath, or other alternative health…I don’t have to go through the system so I still have my freedom of choice…but when you have a real bad illness, it is nice to have these systems to cover you…Obamacare or ours.
Sounds complicated. In this respect I feel lucky to live in Canada…I’m low income so my medical is paid, no worries. A very expensive prescription I have to take is subsidized. The only thing I have to worry about is dental bills, but knock on wood I haven’t had any for a number of years. I need to investigate what would happen if I were hospitalized while travelling in the States, however. I’ve heard enough stories about medical bills totally ruining people financially.
Peggy, that really is something to look up, my guess is you would be totally un-insured but it’s just a guess.
Very informative post Bob. I recently discovered I haven’t got any health insurance. My income amount is similar to yours, but as a consequence of being separated for 2 years I haven’t been able to file my taxes. Would I be able to get a plan through healthcare.gov? Second question, what’s the quickest way to find out which states are auto friendly? Specifically I am wondering whether or not FL requires emmisions inspection.
I live in Florida. No vehicle inspections required. Auto insurance is also very reasonable. No state income tax. Very low property taxes if you own property.
Steve, yes, Florida is considered one of the best states for full-timers. And with my mom there I visit at least every other year. I’m undecided but I may switch.
Man on the Run, I’m afraid I don’t know that, I’m no expert on Obamacare, I just barely understand the parts that affect me. You’ll have to do some research on that. I can say that nowhere on the application was I asked about my past tax returns.
Florida doesn’t have vehicle inspections, but Google is your friend on all research topics.
Keep in mind that you cannot add money to an HSA once you turn 65. So, plan to max out the HSA by the time you turn 65. And, you must show a paycheck income to contribute to it. So, if self-employed you need to pay yourself via a check regularly. Also, I heard that HSA might be going away once ACA is fully implemented. Not sure about that; so, you should look into it. Glad you explained the process so others won’t be afraid of it.
Pleinguy, I wasn’t aware you had to have a paycheck to contribute. That wouldn’t work for me. I did know about the 65 but that would give me 6 years to contribute ans to get the tax savings. The HSA really is ideal for younger people who can build up an account when they rarely use it then when they’re older it’s there for them.
To Man on Run
Florida does not have auto inspection.
I have had health insurance for years and haven’t needed it. I’m much healthier now than going to the doctor often like I used to do. I try more natural things (other than drugs like marijuana, i tend to get addicted). I go occasionally if it warrants it, and family tells me that it’s getting bad.
It sounds like that’s working well for you. That’s great.
I agree, thank God I live in Canada. Bob, I really don’t understand why in a country of over 300 million people, your government is not able to come up with a universal coverage system. We have one tenth of your population and are given a health care number on the day we are born and I have never even seen a bill for my health care. I have a brother who is mentally ill and he lives in an apartment and is given over $1500.00 per month by the government. My nephew was born premature and had many, many drugs and hospital care, no questions asked.
Now that I am self employed, I pay 95$ a month for hospital, dental, general care, drugs, and eyeglasses. It includes allied health like physio, massage and others. When I am 65, I will switch over to a free government plan or I can pay peanuts for a beefed up plan.
Having to pay a deductible is insane. Your health care system is a business and run like a business, that is the problem. No one should make money off of people’s illness.
The US could do sometimes similar to Canada and Britain, no problem but all those insurers, hospitals, high priced doctors, wouldn’t make the big bucks.
Personally, I think it is criminal that there are people who can’t afford health care.
Lynn, thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Don’t think federal in USA. Think states. Some do have full coverage after you get the court to enforce coverage. Any relative that is disabled in my former home state of connecticut was always covered completely.
And you call yourself a libertarian . I think not.
Sam, I don’t call myself a Libertarian. In fact I don’t call myself anything. I’m apolitical.
The quality of care provided by Obamacare is scary. The lies like “if you like your doctor you can keep him and/or your heath insurance plan.” These are very scary times. I just turned 65 and like you Bob, had that scare when I turned 60. My primary care physician and like many others are closing their practices which in turn, are forcing us to wait long periods of time for below average care. I feel like I, like many Americans, have given a lot to this country and we deserve better. We don’t deserve to be lied to.
Robert, these are indeed scary times. We are in a time of severe change and where we will end up there’s no telling.
robert. i don’t understand. there was no aca when you turned 60? my hip replacement burned up all of my contributions to medicare. that was 3 months in.
my social security burned up all of my ss contributions in 27 months. i’m 70. just moochin now! mitt was right, most of the people on ss are moochin. i’m enjoying moochin.
doctors quit or retire all the time. hell some die first. my first wife. god bless her. i retired for 5+ years, until i figured out i was bored out of my gourd. or something. i now only work for people i like. no second chances.
ss will send all of us a record of what we contributed, it’s enlightening. like bob i’m self employed. most of us pay lump sum taxes. one has a better idea of our contributions. i am always happy to make enough to pay taxes.
ice cream raz(moochin)
Bob, in reading what you and others have been saying on this new subject of health care one thing stuck out as kinda being missing. Even if you have good health care and it takes care of you in case of an illness or accident, what happens if you need to do some serious recovery at home after you leave the hospital? Would that be a problem with going from a hospital patient controlled environment to going back to a vehicle such as a van when recovery care is needed? What would be your plans for something like that?
steve. not bob. but,
with a bad stroke or a bad anything you will go straight to nursing/rehab/rehabilitation/recovery place. until your insurance runs out. then to a medicaid place. usually. no openings at the inn well sometimes they call a cab and dump you on skid row. sometimes cabbie takes you to a mission. this is a business, capitalism at its finest.
home care of any kind around here will not deal with your van. nope. move to oregon. think about it, it’l come to you.
ice cream raz
Raz, I don’t know what moving to Oregon would do to help in a situation like this. Sorry to be so dense about what the advantage would be. Can you explain it to me?
Steve, after I broke my arm I had some very severe open wounds and they would have come right to my van to change the dressing (it was workmans comp). But I was too far back into the National Forest so because of distance they would not come. I could have moved into town, but it was summer in Fresno, and triple digits every day–NO WAY! My bosses wife changed the dressing for me.
I don’t have an answer for that. It’s actually fairly likely that unless I die in an accident or am killed by some big trauma that is a bridge I will eventually have to cross. I’m just closing my eyes to that.
My plan has been to take my life at that time. Live free or die isn’t just a saying to me, it’s my end of life plan. However since this has all happened I’ve wondered if I would really have the courage to do it. I don’t know and there is no way to know until that day comes.
Great information! I would like to add a few thoughts on this subject. First, the third leading cause of death in the U.S. are doctors and hospitals! Check it out?
Next issue, more insurance does not mean better healthcare? If you think so, you need to think again? Insurance companies are only interested in the profits on the bottom line! If they have to make a decision between your health and the bottom line, guess who wins?
America, needs to improve the healthcare system and make healthcare more affordable! In Mexico, for the most part you can walk into drug stores and get common meds over the counter for a reasonable price. That will save you a $100 or more doctor’s office visit.
Being sick sucks! There is no doubt about it. People need to be able to get free information on ways to prevent health issues! An oz. of prevention is worth 10 pounds of cure! For example, RV’s do a lot of walking and that is a great form of exercise. Having fun and staying well, it can’t get much better than that?
That’s just my two cents worth, thanks for listening.
May everyone enjoy happy trails and stay healthy!
Thanks Carl, lots of good thought there!
what an interesting discussion. I too am glad that I live in Canada. It’s good to know that medical care is there when I need it and I don’t have to worry about affording the trip to the clinic or the hospital. It’s enough that I have to worry about that with the dentist and the vet visits.
I do have a friend who moved from Canada to the US. What she found was that if you can pay, then medical care happens much faster in the US, but then she pays huge amounts monthly for her insurance. This was before Obamacare, so I don’t know what has changed for her.
Hi Peggy: the last time I looked into health insurance for travel to the US, 2 months ago, BCAA was the most affordable. They say that if you go more than twice a year, it’s worth it to get the yearly coverage. I would not skimp – someone I know almost killed her husband by trying to drive back to Canada rather than go to the nearest hospital when he was very ill. They ended up having to go to a US hospital anyways and racking up a big bill. My father had to go to the ER on a trip to Florida and the bill came to $14,000, I believe that it was covered since he always travels with insurance.
What worries me is that the cost of travel insurance goes up quite a bit as you get older, making snowbirding more expensive.
As always, Bob, thank you for another interesting and informative post.
Thanks Ming, that’s all good info.
Hi Bob, just something I thought would be of note- when taxes are filed this year there is a “hardship” exemption for “homeless” which vandwellers file under. Homeless will not have to pay a penalty for the lack of healthcare in 2014. It will be a separate form to file with taxes.
Just a heads up!
Thanks Myddy. I just looked that up and you’re right there is an exception for being homeless and it requires no documentation as proof.
But that raises the question do I want to announce to the federal government that I have lied to lots of people about where I live? I don’t think I do. I’m pretty sure I’d rather pay the penalty. I’ll have to think about it.
This is a reply to your consumerism post. I like the idea of giving used gifts and have don so in the past. It works good if your gifts have alot of forethought. An example, my brother is a golfer, allways liked my driver, so I gave mine to him on his birthday, he was pleased.
You are spot on, we are brainwashed from infancy to buy buy buy. Personally I’ve outgrown holidays. I consider it a gift or a holiday personally when I do something nice for a stranger without them knowing it. When I visit my dentist there is allways a homeless man living in the corner of the building. I make it a habit to stop at Salsa and beer and pick up a Calfornia burrito to go. I leave the burrito in his shopping cart if he’s not there, or hand it to him if he is. Best holiday I ever had.
Mike, you are an example we should all follow!
I think some people don’t understand how government healthcare works. Even in Canada, there is no such thing as “free” healthcare. You either pay in your higher taxes or the burden for your insurance is transferred to someone else. That said. I just signed my sister up for Covered California (our state’s version of Obama Care) and it is a really good deal for her. She hasn’t been to a Doctor in 25 years so the $635 monthly payment is worth it to her. SI am OK with my taxes going up some to help with others having health insurance at this point. I am retired military so to date have minimal cost for myself.
Thanks Rhoderick. I am aware that there is no such thing as a free lunch and someone is paying for my subsidy. Obama claims that there will be enough savings to offset the extra costs but I don’t think anybody really believes that.
I’m just sick and tired of politics so I don’t want to deal with it anymore so I didn’t bring it up. It is what it is and if the government is giving away money I’ll let them give me some. They’ll just print more!
Hmmm… I was in the process of editing my previous comment so it wan’t so unfriendly sounding when it was automatically posted?
No problem Rhoderick, it’s a good comment.
Thanks for your help ! Lots of good advice. Now it’s my turn to try and enroll.
I’m late to the discussion here (but I just joined the forum today!) so this info may be a bit stale. Regarding HSAs: many if not most banks offer them but they probably don’t do much advertising around them. Ask. The amount of *earned income* that you can contribute depends on:
current enrollment in a qualifying high deductible plan (they are generally noted as such on the plan)
your status (single, family)
Under aged 65 (because that’s when you can get covered under Medicare)
The amount you can contribute changes each year so check IRS.gov for those numbers. If you want, you can make a one time, tax free transfer from your IRA $$ to your HSA up to the full contribution amount for that year.
As Bob mentioned, you can take the money out for whatever. If it’s healthcare related then no income tax. Not related, then income tax …BUT after age 62 you can take it out tax free, health related or not.
Again, IRS.gov has more info.
Thanks Biz Crate, that’s good info!
The ACA is not perfect, but its better than what we had. Clearly its a great thing for vandwellers, who are typically low income. Also, it makes it possible to quit a job you hate, but might be afraid to leave because of the health care benefits. What I don’t understand is the politics. This was a 100% Republican plan, first championed by the Heritage Foundation, and supported by a lot of prominent Republicans as late as 2008.
Sorry, Erik, I don’t get into the politics of these things. I just try to deal with the cards they deal.
What are the problems with using Arizona for my domicile state? I don’t believe they tax Social Security benefits although they do tax pensions. For me looking to purchase a Medicare Supplement (Part C) Plan there are plenty of healthcare options in Arizona. If I domicile myself there I can use one of the UPS stores as my home address and have my mail forwarded to me wherever I am. I can then vote, serve on a jury if called etc. without leaving the state.
Steve, I think AZ is a great state as a residence–if you don’t have any income. I have both a pension and an income so I’m not a AZ resident because I don’t want to pay them taxes. On the other hand, my girlfriend only has a SS income so she is an AZ resident. I wish I could be!
Anybody know what I have to do to get vehicle insurance, vehicle registration and a drivers license in Arizona if the only address I have in Arizona is with a UPS mail service? The AzDOT websites don’t seem to address the issue and a State Farm agent said they had to have a physical address to get me a policy. If this isn’t possible, I’m going to do the Escapees thing and domicile in Texas.
Steve, I have my van registered in AZ and Progressive is my insurance and they also want a physical address where the car is housed. I just used one in a local RV Park. It’s a real address but I don’t live there. All your mail will go to the UPS Store and they will never check on the physical address. It’s worked fine for me. If you’re not comfortable with that you could go to an RV park, stay there for a month and then use that as your address. That would all be up-and-up and if they ever catch you you just say you moved and didn’t update the address.
You need to update the monthly living costs table on your main page to include healthcare costs.
Van, that’s such a broad general budget it just isn’t that detailed and isn’t intended to be.
And what could I possibly use for an average? My girlfriend pays zero because she is on Medicare and the state covers Part B. I’m low income and Obomacare pays all but $50 and some pay $600 and up.
It’s just to show people what’s possible and not be followed by anybody–they will all be different.
For not being an expert on healthcare insurance Bob you did a excellent job in explaining our Obama care.
It is just heart wrenching to read and hear stories about our healthcare system and how families are going bankrupt when faced with medical bills, even with the so called health insurance.
It is beyond me how this great nation cannot care for its citizens health needs without sending them into bankruptcy, and how we put up with it.
The British National healthcare system is so superior to what we are stuck with I am astonished American do not demand we adopt it.
They tax the working persons wages 12% each week (as most get payed weekly there) that goes to the National healthcare, And here is the great part, if you get sick you call your GP office get an appointment see your doctor and when your are finished you go home, end of story, But you do pay a small co-pay for prescriptions.
If you get run over by a car, they take you to the emergency room, take care of you, put you into a hospital room for as long as it takes to heel you, then you check out and go home. end of story. You do not have to sell your house and start a gofund me page to pay for the $100,000 bill that you will get in the mail here in the US even with our Obama care health insurance.
My ex is British and my youngest daughter was born in the UK. They both still have their National health cards that they can use. My then wife had a eptopic pregnancy when I was stationed in the UK, she was rushed to an emergency room and was in the hospital for a couple of weeks, when they released her from the hospital we were charged, zero, nothing.. I just went there and we checked out and went home.
Why cant we have the same healthcare here for our citizens?
My eldest daughter has three little ones, even with the healthcare they have they still were getting bills from the hospital non-stop that were many of thousands of dollars. My youngest daughter that was born in the UK cost me; 0, nothing. how is that for a healthcare system?
It’s all pretty complicated and I don’t have any answers. I do think Obomacare is a big step forward.
My husband and I are under 50 & currently live in Massachusetts. We pay a mortgage on a two family home. I have just started researching & also trying to convince my husband that we should quit our jobs and move into our truck camper, so thank you for this post Bob! My husband had thyroid cancer in 2010, he has no thyroid and needs to take 1 prescription medication daily, other wise I probably wouldn’t even bother with insurance. Anyway, I think the income from 2 apartments being rented may be just enough for us to pay the mortgage and live VERY frugally on the rest. That being said, we would be low income. My question is… do you remember if they considered assets (like a house) when you applied? I am hoping that the house would not disqualify us because right now that is what I am planning on for income. Thank you again for sharing all of your knowledge!
Shelly, I’m sorry but I just put in my own situation and that doesn’t apply to me. But you can go and put in your information anytime to see how it would work out for you. No harm done.