Full-time RVer Health Insurance

full-time-rver-health-insuranceTwice in the past month or so I have gotten questions from readers who were wondering how the Affordable Healthcare Act (also referred to as ObamaCare) changed the playing field for full-time RVers. In truth I have long toyed with the idea of writing more on health insurance for pre-retirement full-timers. But then I would melt into a little puddle of goo when I realized how much things had changed since it kicked in last year, and the enormous ammout of information gathering that would be required to write a useful piece about it – let alone what I myself was going to do later this year when I needed to decide on a new plan.

So when Nina over at WheelingIt posted a super-informative article about it last week I about jumped for joy. For those of you who are as lost in the dark as I was about the ACA, Nina talks about what it is, how your current health insurance (for those already on the road) may change, and how to go about shopping for nomad friendly plans on the exchange. It doesn’t go into medicare or medicaid, but I highly recommend it for working age full-timers. I’ve got it on bookmark for when my current plan (also a high-deductible plan through Coventry) comes due this September.

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It’s time to send out a huge and hearty “Thank You!” to everyone who used my Amazon affiliate link for the month of February. Earnings for last month were $276.99, now that’s cause for some good birthday cheer. Also I’d like to thank everyone who contributes to my posts by leaving a comment, and for sharing word about Interstellar Orchard with your friends and online communities. And of course, everyone reading this deserves a thanks too, because without you guys I’d just be talking to myself right now, and that’s no fun.

Coming up soon: Within the next week or so I will be applying to work at Amazon again for this fall, but this time I’m trying for Fernley, Nevada. For those who have been with me for a while, you all know how long I’ve been wanting to get out West, and this looks like the year! I’m not sure yet what I’ll be doing in the summer months between when the renaissance festival ends in June and when Amazon starts in October, but I’m tentatively thinking I’ll run up to Wisconsin for a family and friend visit and then pick a national park job somewhere between Georgia and Nevada that is looking for work campers (many concessionaires in national parks keep hiring people all through summer as some workers leave early or fail to show up) because I had so much fun at the Badlands last summer.

Have a good week everyone. Today’s photo was taken on the OSBS, and shows why 4-wheel drive vehicles are mandatory for driving on many of the station’s “roads”. This picture illustrates my mental process when faced with figuring the ACA out: There aren’t clear tracks to follow, it’s all soft, and getting traction for forward momentum is difficult. Luckily the online RVing community is so helpful and willing to share, I love being a part of it.

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At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. Terri on August 25, 2014 at 4:14 am

    Thank you for providing the link to that page – it was very helpful in explaining what is a very complicated law, and I have a law degree and masters in library science, and it still boggles my mind to read through it!! Have you looked into this further since you originally posted it? I saw that South Dakota only has three plans, and two are pretty difficult for RVers to belong to, and the third’s network coverage (according to some) is kind of awful. I definitely want to establish my domicile in a state that doesn’t have income tax – living in MA, well, they don’t call it Taxachusetts for nothing. 🙂

    I currently have health coverage through my employer, but it’s a really good plan, so I’m expecting the rates I would have to pay through Cobra to be pretty expensive. Would be interested in hearing what you have since learned about the insurance choices – if you have chosen, would you mind sharing info on what your premiums will be? (I’m trying to forecast living expenses for next year.) Many thanks, as always.
    Terri recently posted..I want to do this..wait, no, that…wait, no this!!! (Decisions, decisions)My Profile

    • Becky on August 26, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      My current high deductible plan was from before the ACA era, I got a letter that it’ll be ending end of December and I’ll need to move to something else, but that’s still 4 months off so I haven’t peeked at it yet. The information is changing so fast that I don’t see any point it worrying yet when it could be different in 4 months. I’ll certainly be writing about it when i do though!

      • Terri on September 14, 2014 at 11:58 am

        Thank you– I look forward to reading that post. Have you written about RV insurance yet? If so, I’m sorry if I missed that post. How much do you pay on the Casita, if you don’t mind me asking? I know a motorhome would be different, but I wouldn’t have the car to insure on top of it.
        Terri recently posted..Little Things for Which I am Thankful….wellll……My Profile

  2. Jay T. on April 3, 2014 at 4:31 pm


    I retire April 18th and we will full time starting May 1st. We were going to domicile in South Dakota but were dissatisfied with the health insurance options. So our domicile will remain in Wisconsin and we have already signed up on the exchange. Our high-deductible, high out-of-pocket plan is ridiculously inexpensive with the income subsidy. We are lucky to currently be in very good health so it should work out well for us for a few years anyway.

    Thanks for the cool website.


    • Becky on April 3, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      Heya Jay,

      Glad to hear you have insurance that works for you, I was afraid perhaps you’d gotten caught without with SD’s slim pickings right now. I’ll just have to wait and see what the options look like later.

      You’re welcome, glad you’re finding it helpful. 🙂

  3. Jay T. on March 31, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Becky, I see you have domiciled in South Dakota. Are you satisfied with Avera Health as perhaps the only ACA option for full time RVers?

    • Becky on April 2, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      Hello Jay.

      Like Nina who wrote this article, I’m going to wait until closer to September (when my insurance comes due again) and see what the playing field looks like then. The health insurance market is in flux right now and a lot could change in the next 5 months. Until then I won’t lose sleep over trying to make a choice.

      Are you a full-timer out of SD who’s looking for other options? Nina’s written more on the subject on her site and you might find it helpful.

  4. Jacob Soderman @NPI on March 21, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Nice February earnings and I definitely think youll do better this March. I love your blog, your thoughts and reviews.
    Jacob Soderman @NPI recently posted..The 8 Types of Insurance a Non-Profit Should ConsiderMy Profile

    • Becky on March 21, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      Glad you’re finding them helpful Jacob.

  5. Sheryl on March 6, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Thanks for all your pictures Becky. In this picture I can’t tell– Is that snow on the road you are trying to drive down? Or just the light bouncing off a rainy road? I’m from the west and not familiar with Florida.

    • Becky on March 6, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      Neither, it’s all sand. Most of Florida’s dirt is just sand, it’s kind of odd even for someone from the east. I keep expecting to see a beach around the next turn but that’s just the way the soil is down here. So being exposed sand, it becomes soft and mushy to try to drive through, in this picture all the ruts in the road are from where vehicles have plowed through.

      • John Hussey on March 7, 2014 at 2:54 am

        I don’t agree that making money is ever “scammy” as you wrote above, especially if by doing so it will contribute to your being more financial independent and free you for doing more of what you’d rather do rather than what you had to do. So, change your mind and supply some links for what other like-minded souls have researched and bought through your Amazon portal. Maybe it will help a reader or two on a purchase or three…and help you as well, with you earning a few extra bucks for your efforts at the same time.

        I am a Floridian, and not far from where you presently are and I love all that Florida white sand in the photo, thankful that it is not the white snow that so many of our northern neighbors are experiencing this winter.

        • Becky on March 8, 2014 at 11:35 am

          Yes to sand over snow John, haha. The weather yesterday was cold and gray on the station, but when I say cold I mean the high was in the lower 50’s, which would be a welcome sight for people living farther north.

          As for making money in a way that feels good/helpful and not scammy, that’s what the e-guide is going to be for! Once I have the time to finish it. And here I thought I’d have all this extra time only putting in 16 hours a week at the OSBS, haha. Oh well, I’m in Florida for crying out loud, it’s hard to complain. 😉

  6. Wheelingit on March 5, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Thanks so much for the lovely mention! I’m really happy the article was helpful. Also congrats on the Amazon earnings…that’s tremendous!

    Wheelingit recently posted..Keeping It Light & Fluffy Today…My Profile

    • Becky on March 5, 2014 at 7:44 pm

      Thank you for writing it Nina! I wasn’t exaggerating about the jumping up and down, it’s such an important topic for us younger full-timers and also so challenging to try to figure out.

  7. SamG on March 5, 2014 at 10:36 am

    Keep posting Becky! And I’ll click the Amazon desktop link. Glad it helps you out. Health insurance? Glad I’m a vet. Medicare is way confusing. Yes, you should visit the West. If you make it to the West coast sometime there’s diverse environments in a 50 mile radius in many spots. Beach, desert, mountains. Before next winter I intend to hit the road for NM and Az. Lots to prepare for. Lived most of my life in SE Pa. and intend to live the rest of my life elsewhere.
    On the 4 wheel driving in soft terrain, don’t go too slow or drive in the same tracks. Learned the hard way. Pipeline coworker got me in trouble by not listening to me and drove the same tracks. Boss’s son. College educated. Company had to bring the backhoe on the lowboy to retrieve the pickup. Another time my buddy convinced me to cross a local creek with my 4wd Blazer. Maybe it would have been possible to fly across but I went too slow. Quick mud. 4 or 5, 6X8 ties and 8 hours later I was free. But not quite. Scraped my leg during the retrieval and spent time with the docs. The leg blew up like a zepelin.
    Didn’t know clicking on purchase links could be so lucrative. Maybe someday I’ll try it. But traveling and having internet access can be a problem like you have stated in the past.
    Enjoy your week, Becky. It’s 10-20 degrees most mornings and it’s still snowing some days. While in NM and Az it’s–

    • Becky on March 5, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      Heya Sam, thanks for using my link. Not sure if you realize this or not but with the Amazon program it’s not just clicking the link, it’s ordering stuff after clicking the link. If I wanted to do it properly I’d review Amazon products and link to the specific product to try to get readers to buy it, but that just feels so scammy to me. So I tell people to use it for shopping they would have done on Amazon anyway, and that way they aren’t spending any more money and I make a little bit, it’s a win-win.

      And yes, the West looks so beautiful. I follow several bloggers who spend a lot of time boondocking out West (like WheelingIt for example) and the pictures and stories made me decide long ago that I wanted to travel out there. So happy that my chance is coming.

      Thanks for the driving tips, I’ve never owned a 4-wheel drive vehicle and driving company vehicles on those sandy roads has been a new experience for me. Sorry to hear about your leg injury, I hope it healed quickly.

      Take care!

  8. Barb L. on March 5, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Just finishing our first year out west & LOVING it! After nearly 3 months in western SD, spent most of the rest of the year in NM & AZ. Can’t wait to come back again.
    Sorry we didn’t get out for a visit when we were both in SD. Enjoyed our volunteer time at the hatchery in Spearfish, though & I’m sure our paths will cross somewhere down the road.

    • Becky on March 5, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      I’m sure they will Barb! I’ll probably be going down to AZ to check out Quartzsite after Amazon gets done, I’m really looking forward to it. Anything you’d recommend I see while I’m down there?

  9. John Hussey on March 5, 2014 at 7:29 am

    Or…head to Alaska…and really go west this year. Perhaps you can find something up there. I jave been planning on that trip for a few years and it looks like its a “go” for July through…whenever…this year. I cant wait to go fishing up there and I am from Florida. Gas prices, though, ate almost prohibitive. I wish we could get them back down to the 2008 end of year pricing/gallon of $1.84/gallon. That would cut the fuel costs in half and fuel will be my most expensive cost!

    I love your blog. I buy a lot through Amazon and have made a habit of going through your portal to do it. I am happy you are benefiting from it as it costs me absolutely nothing to do it. Its a “win-win” for us both. I do hope all your readers will do it!

    • Becky on March 5, 2014 at 7:30 pm

      Thank you very much for using my link John!

      Alaska is on my list, but as you said it’s pricier than other places and I’m not going to be in a good position to do that after the first half of this year, working at a ren faire is this year’s big check-off. I bet you’ll have a lot of fun though! I’ll still enjoy getting out to Nevada and seeing more of the parks and scenery out that way, I haven’t been west since I was 15, and even then only got as far as Montana/the rockies.

  10. Lacy on March 4, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Hi Becky –

    This is off topic but I’ve been wondering: The picture at the top of your blog……is that you and where was it taken? I couldn’t find the answer (or didn’t look at the right place!). I really like it!


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