To Whom It May Concern:
After many years of dreaming and planning, my husband and I were both fully retired and began our new journey as full-time RVers on 09/11/14. We had crossed all our “T’s” and dotted all our “I’s” as we prepared to hit the road to explore America. Everything seemed to fall perfectly into place with the exception of what to do about medical insurance as we traveled these United States. Somewhat fortunate for us, my husband retired from city government with medical insurance up to the age of 65. What was not so fortunate is this meant I would have to fend for myself as I retired from a large corporation who offered no continuing coverage at retirement, only COBRA. Because of its actual affordability, I took that policy until it ran out in 2015. To our way of thinking, we knew we had to protect our “nest egg” and could not afford to be without insurance. This is when I enlisted Coleen Elkins to assist me in finding a good insurance policy that (1) had good (PPO) coverage wherever we may travel and (2) was “affordable”. With her help, it became evident that I did not qualify for an ObamaCare subsidy as my ‘income’ was a bit too much… by +/-$40.00. Consequently, Coleen went to work looking for an individual PPO policy that would cover me in all 50 states. For obvious reasons, an HMO would just not work. So, as we began our full-time adventure, my policy premiums went from $566.59/month in 2015, to $701.19/month in 2016, to $474.10/month in 2017. It should be noted that while my 2017 policy premium decreased, it did not cover me for the entire year. It ended on 12/27/17. Now, I have “gap” insurance (3 separate policies) until I reach Medicare age this August.
As full-time RVers, it goes without saying that medical coverage has been THE BIGGEST nightmare for us to date. We have younger friends who are also full-time RVers and struggle with affordable medical insurance premiums. I would have to say, for certain, that being able to afford medical insurance is definitely a determining factor on whether or not these folks can stay, or will have to come off the road. I do not believe any of our dreams of exploring America and our choice of freedom to enjoy this lifestyle should be limited (or derailed) by whether or not we can afford medical insurance premiums… or even buy it! I have no idea what I would have done without Coleen’s expertise and her assistance in matching me up with policies that would work for me and get me through to Medicare age. I don’t think I will ever get over that in 2016 my monthly policy premium was exactly ONE-HALF of my social security payment! UN-BE-LIEVABLE!
In the meantime, it is my humble opinion that a group policy that (1) offers decent benefits with a decent deductible, (2) is open to all full-time RVers, (3) covers us across all state boundaries, and (4) is affordable is probably the most important benefit an RV-related club or clubs could offer. It is time, and it would be much appreciated.
Thank you for your consideration.
To: Coleen Elkins,
From: Hans and Lisa
RE: Nationwide Medical Insurance for RVers
In this time of constantly changing health insurance plans and regulations, full time and seasonal RVers have a serious need for nationwide health care plans. Most full time Rvers have a home base somewhere in the US, but may not visit that state at all during a calendar year. Seasonal RVers may spend the summer in their state of residence but spend the winter in another state.
The particular demographic that is struggling over the current lack of nationwide plans are those individuals that are not covered under an employer’s health plan, are under Medicare age, or are covered under a very small geographic HMO plan. With many states and/or counties no longer offering ACA compliant nationwide (PPO) health plans in 2018, these individuals must take non-ACA compliant plans such as short term plans in order to have any insurance at all.
As recently as 2016 most states and counties offered PPO plans that allowed us to comply with ACA requirements and obtain medical care most anywhere in the United States at a reasonable price. It is our hope that if FMCA creates a plan that will cover this group of RVers it will cover folks in all types of RVs, not just motor coaches. Please keep us posted on any new developments to provide better health care coverage for Rvers that even include coverage for non-serious pre-existing conditions, such as migraines, diabetes, high blood pressure and other non-life threatening and treatable illnesses that can be controlled with medication and life style and diet changes.
I just want to say thank you so much for helping us navigate the health insurance nightmare! When we were working and had employer provided care, health insurance never ever entered my mind. We just had it, no worries. So, when we made the decision to downsize and simplify our lives, it never occurred to us that obtaining health insurance would become our biggest stress. We chose South Dakota as our “Home” state for various reasons. Now we’re finding it difficult at best to get affordable health insurance.
I hate that we can only buy a short term plan. I hate shopping for and applying for new coverage every 3 to 12 months. I hate that there is a 64 day waiting period where you have to be uninsured before you can buy another short term plan. I would like to have a lower deductible and out-of-pocket but those premiums are well out of our comfort level. We just pray every year that we don’t have anything bad happen that would wipe out our savings. I find that I’m thinking about and worrying about our health insurance constantly.
We would just like to buy a Blue Cross type plan that we can keep indefinitely. We’re both 55 years old and years away from being eligible for Medicare. In a perfect world we would have a $1000 deductible, $2500 maximum out-of-pocket for around $500-$600 per month. Do you think that will EVER happen?
As much as we don’t like the current situation, I do appreciate you SO SO MUCH!! I don’t know what we’d do without you! Thank you again for everything you do for us and we are looking forward to meeting you in Kerrville this summer!
February 13, 2018
Senator John Cornyn
517 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Dear Senator Cornyn:
The intent of this letter is to simply make you aware of the impact the lack of good health insurance coverage has been on me and my husband. We are both in our early sixties so Medicare won’t be available to us for two to three more years.
We were fortunate we could afford to take an early retirement since the oil industry in Houston was in decline back in 2015. Both of us were only 59 and 60 years of age so we decided to sell our home in Spring Texas and travel our great country in our RV. We have been living mostly full time on the road maintaining our home base in Livingston Texas. While most people think we are living the dream, there is one nightmare to our lifestyle.
When we first left our corporate jobs, we decided to keep our insurance coverage through COBRA at $1200/month. After 18 months we were no longer eligible for COBRA so we applied for insurance through the Affordable Care Act. We were excited to know they would cover us in spite of our pre-existing health conditions. However we were disappointed to discover our coverage would only apply in the state it was purchased in. Our options the last two years have been limited to only HMO plans giving us adequate coverage in Texas but in any other state we have to satisfy a $15,000 deductible before it will cover anything, then with only 50% coinsurance. And each year our options seem to be getting worse.
I was diagnosed at age 39 with type 1 diabetes and my husband has a chronic lung condition. It has been difficult to maintain our good health while on the road knowing the high costs of getting sick or being hospitalized in another state. Even getting my diabetes supplies shipped to me has been a nightmare since we are out of state much of the year. We do maintain our primary care physician and see specialists in Texas, which forces us to go back there to see our doctors. This is definitely not our idea of living the dream.
When will our healthcare system improve? We are both looking forward to being on Medicare so we won’t have these restrictions. It is sad that this has yet to be fixed and that some people with chronic diseases such as diabetes can barely afford the cost of insulin they need to stay alive.
In all due respect, I truly believe if all of our political leaders had the same type of health insurance options your constituents have then maybe we would begin to see the necessary improvements made.
Mary & Steven
Our Experience With Medical Insurance After Retiring
Immediately after retiring, we had moved back to TX to establish our domicile. We lived in the Waco area for six months while ordering and waiting for our RV. Knowing we were going to RV full time, we wanted a national PPO. That did not exist in 2015. We ended up with a regional PPO, Baylor Scott & White for 2016. That worked out until we changed our mailing address from Waco to Livingston, TX as we are using the Escapees mailing service. At the end of 2016, Baylor Scott & White kicked us off our plan for moving out of their region. Since they did not tell us about it till Jan 2017, we were without insurance for a couple of weeks. We ended up with “Golden Rule,” a United Healthcare short term plan with very high deductibles and zero prescription drug coverage.
In July 2017, my wife had multiple seizures from extreme dehydration while we were in Gettysburg and was taken by ambulance to the local hospital. In the middle of the night, I was called by the attending physician who was very concerned that she had not improved so asked me if they could send her by helicopter to a bigger hospital in York, about a 70 minute drive. I agreed. My wife recovered and spent four days total in the hospital. Our out of pocket cost was over $30,000 of which $19,200 was the helicopter flight. Golden Rule was not a very good plan.
For 2018, the only ACA plans available in Livingston, TX are Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas that are all HMO. We have enrolled in the silver Blue Cross/Blue Shield TX. The bad news is we will always be out of network because we have not been able to get to Livingston to see our primary care physician. We do not plan to visit Texas until the spring of 2019. However Blue Cross/Blue Shield does have national prescription drug coverage which is very good. In addition, we are currently in Palm Springs, CA and two urgent care centers we used have refused to take our Blue Cross/Blue Shield HMO and a third that we called said they would not. They would not accept any non-local HMO insurance. In other words, our choice in Palm Springs was to use a hospital emergency room or pay cash for medical services so we ended up paying cash. It would be great to be able to buy a national PPO plan with prescription drug coverage.