2017 Health Insurance Update

In 2015 I wrote a pretty lengthy article on South Dakota health insurance for pre-medicare RVers. You can review that article for the full story but here’s a recap:

From 2012-2014 I had a low cost, high deductible plan that would cover me in case of emergency only, everything else I paid out of pocket. My emergency fund was large enough to cover the deductible.

I've been sitting on this flower photo collage for a while, since my last visit to Wisconsin last year in fact. Better late than never?

I’ve been sitting on this flower photo collage for a while, since my last visit to Wisconsin last year in fact. Better late than never?

Starting in 2015, the Affordable Care Act (more commonly known as Obamacare) changed the health insurance scene for full-timers dramatically. Everyone over 30 now had to have full insurance – high deductible plans didn’t meet the requirements – or pay a penalty.

Because of my income level (around $20,000 last year) I qualify for a subsidy that makes the Bronze level ACA plans on the Marketplace historically similar in cost to what my high deductible plan use to be before the ACA, and theoretically I also get a free wellness checkup every year. I say theoretically, because I’d need to go to South Dakota for that checkup and I don’t spend much time in that state. My plan covers emergencies out-of-state (part of the ACA law), but other care (including post-emergency) needs to be done in SD, which isn’t very nomad friendly.

Of the three big full-timing residency states (Florida, South Dakota, Texas), only Florida has ACA plans that provide nation-wide coverage (Florida Blue), which for those of you who are thinking of hitting the road in the near future, is definitely something worth taking into consideration when making your domicile state decision. There’s no guarantee that Florida will continue having this option in the future – 2016 saw the removal of these kinds of plans in many states – for 2017 they still do. If I had health issues and required regular medical care, I’d probably “move” to Florida for this reason, but as I am still, thankfully, in good health, I can’t justify the cost it would take to switch residency states at this time.

It’s also worth pointing out that ACA plans are not the only option. For people who make over about $47,500, there is no subsidy, and the cost of a plan can be pretty extreme. 2017 opens up the possibility of joining a medical cost sharing group as a viable option as it’s now ACA exempt, but it’s important to realize that this isn’t actual insurance, there is no guarantee of payout.

For those new to the RVer health insurance scene, Kyle over at RVerInsurance has a very informative article that goes over all the options for next year, and I highly recommend it: http://www.rverinsurance.com/2017-health-insurance/. I was in e-mail communication with Kyle in 2015 when all of these changes were taking place and he helped me a lot with figuring out what my options were.

And yes, if you’re not getting insurance through a job, you probably do want to sign up for an ACA compliant plan instead of going without. It makes better financial sense for those who are on a budget and don’t have a high income. In 2015 the penalty for not having health insurance was cheaper than the least expensive bronze plan, so many RVers chose to just take the penalty. Starting in 2016 though, the penalty for not being insured went up to $695 per adult or 2.5% of your annual income, whichever is higher. For my income level, it’s cheaper to pay for the insurance.

Which brings me to what I signed up for for 2017.

My Avera 5000 Bronze level plan (what I had for this year) is still available next year, and after checking the details I decided to renew it. The out-of-pocket cap for this plan is a lower amount than my emergency fund, it’s the second cheapest option for South Dakota. At 32 years of age, with an expected 2017 income of $22,000, I’ll be paying $18 a month for this plan. Yes, you read it right, $18. There’s been an increase in insurance rates for 2017, my plan rose by about 20% (without the subsidy it would be about $360 a month, ouch!), but the government subsidy increased too to more than cover the difference (I paid $52 per month in 2016, my last year with a high deductible plan in 2014 was about $60).

For many people, applying on the Marketplace website is a quick and painless process, but it’s never worked for me as the software doesn’t recognize my mail forwarding address in South Dakota as a residential address, so they can’t confirm my identity. I always end up having to call and talk to a real person to sign up, and in 2015 I almost didn’t have insurance for January 1st as Avera didn’t accept me as a SD resident initially and I had to make extra phone calls to get it set up, but since then it’s gone much smoother. The call time last year was 26 minutes, this year it was only 15 minutes – practice makes perfect.

All in all, it only took a couple hours this year to research options, place the call, and get insured for next year – not bad at all.

Edit 12/2/16: Health insurance is a rather hot issue right now with several different camps of belief and a lot of strong feelings. It’s good that these kind of topics get discussed as that is how knowledge is gained and compromises are reached. I’d just like to kindly state that while sharing an opinion is fine, this blog is not the place for full-out political arguments – there are other blogs, forums, and communities out there made for that. Thank you.

* * *

I’ve survived another Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend at Amazon, it was a pretty crazy few days as usual with the conveyors running full tilt and everyone (particularly outbound functions) in full rush mode. Yesterday I was assigned to a work station right next to one of the big elevators that carries product up and down between the four floors and it was a madhouse. This week saw 11 hour days for the work-campers here in Haslet Texas, but there is no fifth day for my shift which has me a little bummed. Even the pickers working the outbound side of operations don’t have a fifth day this week for our shift, I think staffing continues to exceed need.

Only three more weeks to go! If there’s no overtime that last week, my last day will be December 20th, otherwise it’ll be the 21st (officially it’s the 23rd for all of CamperForce, but that falls on my weekend).

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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. Suzanne on December 4, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    Our situation: 2 healthy adults age 63, residents of Alaska, working seasonally there for the 17th year. Adjusted income (with HSA contributions) qualifies us for a Bronze plan ($6200 deductible/ea) with Premara/nationwide coverage, the ACA pays our monthly premium of – sit down – $4300.00!!! $4300.00!!!! For essentially catastophic health care coverage. Once Trump repeals the subsidies, our premiums alone would be almost a third more than our income. And Mike Pence would also like to evicerate Medicare…. The ACA is not perfect but it has allowed millions of working Americans access to healthcare and the ability to avoid bancruptcy because of medical bills.

    • Greg on December 10, 2016 at 6:46 pm

      I have trouble believing that Trump or Congress are going to eliminate subsidies until premiums drop dramatically. Whatever happens, it’s not going to be next year.

  2. Kit on December 4, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    My income is over the subsidy limit, I’m in AZ, 32 yrs old, and I picked the second-cheapest plan. I pay about $200/month for my premium. I know for older people it’s out of control, and I know some are going without insurance because it makes no financial sense for a healthy person to pay $400+ a month for the cheapest, least-benefit insurance.

    • Greg Schoenberg on December 4, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      It makes perfect sense to pay $200 or $400 a month in the face of a hospital bill, that any healthy person can incur, and few afford on their own.

      Having said that, the situation in Arizona is out of control. One or two offerings and 100% rate increases.
      Greg Schoenberg recently posted..2017 ACA Rate Proposals are in…yuck!My Profile

    • Becky on December 4, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      I find it interesting that we’re the same age Kit and the second-cheapest option for you is about 56% of the cost of the second-cheapest option for me (if I didn’t have the subsidy that is). Seems like the difference between states is pretty significant. Although it’s also true I haven’t bothered to look at plans off the Marketplace since I do qualify for that subsidy – maybe I could find something less than $360 off it.

      Just did a little bit of math. A person making $48,000 a year (no subsidy) and paying $200 a month for health insurance is putting about 5% of their total income for the year into health insurance.

      Me, making $22,000 a year (significant subsidy) and paying $18 a month for health insurance will be putting about 1% of my total income for the year into health insurance in 2017. A 4% difference is really quite huge, I’m sorry you’re having to pay so much more. This year’s rate of $52 a month (3%) makes more sense, I wonder why the subsidy changed that significantly for next year.

  3. Kevin on December 4, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Hmmm… I thought you could do a HSA with a HDHP under ACA guideline. (that’s a lot of acronyms) https://www.healthinsurance.org/faqs/i-have-an-individual-hdhp-and-an-hsa-will-i-still-be-able-to-have-them-under-the-aca/
    Kevin recently posted..Seven cruises in 12 monthsMy Profile

    • Becky on December 4, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      My HDHP prior to the ACA didn’t have an HSA Kevin, perhaps that’s why?

  4. Pamelab on December 2, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you, Becky – Good opportunity for discussion. I am almost 70 and started full time in my Casita in August. Recently found out my Texan Plus policy does not cover me with my address change to Polk County, where my mail forwarding service is located.
    But, I was relieved to find a Medicare supplement policy that will cover me wherever I am and has good coverage. It will cost me a bit more than I paid before, but worth it. Peace of mind.
    Here’s hoping there is overtime coming your way. Thank you. I always enjoy your blog.
    Pamelab in Missouri City TX for now

    • Becky on December 4, 2016 at 6:38 pm

      You’re welcome Pamela. I’m glad you got your insurance sorted out and that Medicare has supplements that work better for traveling, this issue is one of the hardest for pre-retirement RVers.

      Thanks for the well-wishes and welcome back to Texas. 😉

  5. Cinn on December 1, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    $18/month! Oh to be young again! 😉 I am over 50, absolutely no health issues (I take only vitamins, no meds of any kind), and yet the cheapest plan for my age & income level (contractor in the high tech industry) is over $500/month! I feel the money is much better invested in a high-growth index fund… The “fine” is cheap by comparison, if they even levy it, and I just pay for annual check-ups out of pocket. I’m charged the “uninsured” rate — about 1/3 cheaper than they would normally bill an insurance company — and therein lies the reason behind skyrocketing insurance rates!

    • Greg on December 1, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      I sure wish I could put the $1000/mo. my wife and I pay for health insurance into our IRA’s…but who pays the hospital bill if your appendix goes south? You….or other insured people, paying it for you? I take vitamins too. I’m in great health…but I know that eventually something is going to wear out.

      The biggest reason insurance premiums are rising is that there are too many health people not participating in the insured pool.

      • Michael on December 1, 2016 at 6:20 pm

        You are so right. I’ve been paying for health insurance myself for twenty five years because it’s the right thing to do. Healthcare freeloaders pay nothing and show up at a hospital when something goes wrong. Those costs are paid by the taxpayers. The real cost of health care is somewhere in between. It’s like riding a motorcycle without a helmet and no insurance and expecting the rest of us to pay to put your head back together. Becky does the admirable thing. She’s responsible.

        • Greg on December 2, 2016 at 6:13 pm

          You are so right too, Michael. Today I was talking to a healthy man in his 20’s who is refusing to buy insurance for him and his pregnant wife. His rationale. “I can file bankruptcy for $500.” His reason for talking to me. Seeing if there is any free insurance. (not eligible for Medicaid…too much income).

          Cupcake generation personified. This is why the individual mandate is necessary.

          Kudos to you Becky for being a responsible insured person.

  6. Terri G on December 1, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Thank you so much for the health insurance info. I’m planning on going solo next year and this is the last big sticking point for me. I’m in WA and they expanded Medicaid to cover low income participants. It seems that this option may end, but who knows what will happen in the next couple of years.

    • Becky on December 2, 2016 at 6:11 pm

      You’re very welcome Terri and I’m glad you found this helpful! Yes I’m guessing within the next couple years the health insurance scene will be changing dramatically again, we’ll all just need to cross that bridge when it comes.

  7. Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets on December 1, 2016 at 9:08 am

    Hi Becky! Although as always, we appreciate the effort you put into your posts, this particular topic is about to undergo nearly immediate “repeal and replace”. Of this, I could not be more certain and delighted. Everything we have tried to understand and navigate through will be out the window. It’s going to happen.

    So, my opinion is sit tight. As it is, premiums are skyrocketing, and carriers are leaving the marketplace in droves anyway. So nothing can be relied upon. And just like Carrier and Ford’s latest announcements in light of what he said he was going to do, the insurance industry will be awaiting what the Trump administration has in mind. It’s got to be better than the current mess.
    Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets recently posted..$7.10My Profile

    • Becky on December 2, 2016 at 6:07 pm

      Yep I’m imagining the health insurance scene will be changing dramatically again soon, but it takes time for new laws to go into effect and I doubt it’ll change for 2017 and people will still need to make decisions for the next year and so, I posted based on what I know. 🙂

  8. Greg Schoenberg on December 1, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Great blog as usual, Becky. I work with Kyle and would only add that there are other states that still have nationwide coverage. Oregon, for example, has 4 insurance companies that offer it. Their prices are lower than typical and it’s a great place to visit in the summer. Cheap RV registration and no sales tax, which is great for online purchases or buying an RV. Perhaps the big three need to be expanded to other states. Montana and Idaho also have plans with nationwide coverage.

    • Becky on December 2, 2016 at 5:56 pm

      Do you know what the income tax and residency requirements are like for those states Greg? It certainly wouldn’t hurt for full-timers to have more options. 🙂

      • Greg on December 2, 2016 at 6:07 pm

        Becky…I can only comment about Oregon. There is an excellent discussion about this on the Escapee forum. http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?showtopic=125570

        • Becky on December 2, 2016 at 6:41 pm

          So it sounds like getting the insurance in OR is pretty easy, but to be able to claim residency a person would need to return there every year for a certain amount of time. One of the reasons TX, SD, and FL are so popular is they don’t have these restrictions. Still, might be a good option for some folks. Good info and thanks for sharing.

          • Greg on December 2, 2016 at 9:28 pm

            I don’t that is the case, at least not for insurance purposes. But if it’s true, then it’s not much of a sacrifice. Oregon has great summer weather. No place I would rather be….3 months out of the year. 🙂

  9. Vanholio! on December 1, 2016 at 8:32 am

    I was doing a bronze plan in Texas. But I recently changed residency to New Mexico to get Expanded Medicaid. This year I’m earning little enough to qualify. Free everything all the way: medical, dental, and glasses. Really amazing, actually. Call me a damn liberal, but I think everyone should have this. Also, i wanted to change to New Mexico so I didn’t have to travel as far as Texas for my basic appointments. It’s more in the center of my normal travel range. Here’s more about it; http://www.vanholio.com/2016/08/how-i-got-real-id-with-no-fixed-address.html

    • Karen on December 1, 2016 at 7:58 pm

      Um, “free”? Free for YOU, but the rest of us are paying for it. Where do you think the money comes from? I certainly hope you’re qualifying for Medicaid because you’re physically or mentally unable to work – not just choosing to!

      • Vanholio! on December 1, 2016 at 10:26 pm

        To quote our president-elect in reference to his legal tax avoidance, “It makes me smart.”
        Vanholio! recently posted..6 Questions to Ask when Choosing Your Van Life RigMy Profile

        • Trudy M. on December 2, 2016 at 8:54 am

          Avoiding taxes isn’t the same as getting MY taxes. Agree with Karen.

    • JimS on December 2, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      I’m with you, Vanholio. Everyone should have it.

      He receives Medicaid because of his income level. Its a subsidy for people living below the Federal poverty level.

      Avoiding taxes DOES mean others are paying for the benefit people like Trump receives.

    • Karen on December 10, 2016 at 11:03 am

      I seriously could never understand why our politicians on BOTH sides of the aisle won’t go for a simple single payer plan like Medicare for all (I’m sure the insurance lobby might have something to do with it). Do away with Medicaid, the VA, and politicians gold plated policies. Good for business, as employers won’t have to worry about a plan, and good for those complaining about subsidies, because everyone would be required to pay at least something toward it. Insurance could still manage it (getting rid of fee for service would be a HUGE cost savings) and it would have that “portability” perk that the politicians claim they want but won’t be able to swing because of different state requirements. Perfect? No, but the best chance at providing healthcare for all at the least cost.

      I think the big problem with this is that people want to tie this practical idea to specific political leanings, but even conservative governments see the benefit. Maybe it’s time for us to pull our heads out of our ideologies and just face plain facts.

      • Greg on December 10, 2016 at 12:05 pm

        Our government can barely run a web site. Healthcare.gov took years before the glitches were fixed. Even then, I still have problems with it and the system as I assist my clients.

        People cite Medicare as a success story for single payer. However, insurance companies manage 2/3 of Medicare benefits through Advantage plans. Reason…private insurance companies are far more efficient than the Federal government.

        Yes…smaller countries do fine with single payer, like Canada. (Although Canadians have their issues with it). Single payer for a country of 320 million would be a bureaucratic nightmare. Pipe dream at best.

        • Karen on December 10, 2016 at 12:46 pm

          I suppose that’s one way of looking at it. unfortunately the system as it is, and the system as it was before Obamacare has been an even larger nightmarish bureaucracy. The single payer plan that I am talking about would include regional systems to decrease the overall scale of management:


          • Greg on December 10, 2016 at 7:00 pm

            One little know fact about ACA reforms is the MLR (Medical Loss Ratio) which requires insurance companies spend 85% of premium dollar on claims, leaving 15% for administration, marketing, etc. That is a skinny margin and unfortunately, with skyrocketing claims (too many boomers and not enough millennials enrolled), the margin is even smaller.

            This begs the question. Can a state or regional run single payer system run efficiently on 15% margin like insurance companies do? Experience and observation says no. Medicaid, which is ran by the states, are usually very inefficient. Bloated with paperwork and ridiculous rich benefits (no co-pays…no cost share). It’s no wonder established doctors do not take it.

            Need more proof. Look at VA coverage. It’s single payer. Quality and access is hit and miss, at best. There is no real incentive for the doctors and staff to provide good care, as there is in the private system.

            Single payer would be a huge mistake. Americans are not going to stand in line for surgery or specialist services, as they do in Canada, or wait months for an ID card, as Medicaid recipients do.

        • Karen on December 11, 2016 at 8:36 am

          Greg, it sounds like you have been doing a lot of thinking about this. Thank you for the responses. Do you have any other ideas for basic healthcare to cover all citizens at the least cost? I really want to hear them, because healthcare costs and coverage in this country are at crisis levels. So, any constructive ideas are quite welcome.

          Regarding your response about single payer, yes the VA system has huge problems. But they are not only single payer, they are single provider, which is the reason for poor service. A truly single payer system for the entire country would actually eliminate the VA’s single payer aspect, as it would Medicaid. Everyone would be covered for basic medical care coverage, but the actual provision of service could be private. The costs could be administered by regional employees who had expertise with private insurance administration. So any waiting in line would be on them, and the local folks could hold them accountable. There are already many places in the US where people are waiting in line for services as it is. On a side note, Colorado Springs has demonstrated an innovative way to pool and administer different insurances, with a clear cost and coverage benefit.

          By the way, I looked up information on the costs of Medicare administration vs. private insurance and here is what I found:


          My main concern is that everyone is covered by basic health insurance. To me, it’s a basic public need, like schooling, roads, infrastructure, etc. The current system is unsustainable because of private insurance costs, the old system was inhumane (left people without healthcare, dropped from it, or bankrupt), and vouchers/”portable across state line” plans won’t work because the private insurance plans are still too high, and different states have different guidelines which will render “portability” moot.

          With Medicare for all, even fulltime rv’s under 65 would have truly portable coverage.

          Medicare Advatage is actually one of the major reasons that overall Medicare costs have been increasing. Their “lower” administrative costs are due to limiting services for patients. Again, because private insurance is profiting:


          But, please, do you have any other ideas that would cover everyone at the least cost?

          (Sorry for the long post. They didn’t call me “Windy” as a kid for nothing 🙄).

          • Greg Schoenberg on December 11, 2016 at 7:27 pm

            Hi Karen. I enjoy this discussion. Good catch on the VA being a single provider.

            Regarding Medicare Advantage plans, the ones I’m aware of do not have the pitfalls that your article described. A good MA plan has an out-of-pocket maximum whereas traditional Medicare does not. Therefore a catastrophic medical event, like cancer, can lead to a subscriber paying the 20% part B portion into infinity. A good MA plan eliminates that. They also offer extra benefits like gym memberships, RX, and so forth. A popular one I market has these features for only $19 a month. There has been no significant raise in premiums, loss of benefits, or anybody being tossed. Every enrollee pays the same $19, regardless of age or health.

            I think the solution is keeping the foundation of ACA but downgrading the eligibility to Medicaid. Right now there are too many boomers that are insured by private insurance companies and not enough young immortals. What would happen to Allstate if they were forced to accept all the bad drivers, leaving the good drivers uninsured or on a public system? How long would Allstate stay in business? That is precisely what is wrong with the current system.

            The challenge for the new administration and Congress is to implement reforms that balances the insured pool. A healthy mix of those who need care versus those who are healthy. When this happens, there will be healthy competition among private insurance companies and better service and prices for their clients.

            I see firsthand the inefficiency of government run healthcare. Medicaid was expanded in Oregon and it’s a mess for those who are forced to enroll in it. Extensive hold times. Lost paperwork. Delay in benefits. Limited providers. And yet you want to expand this to all? Sorry. I simply have no faith in the government to provide healthcare in an efficient manner. They can barely run a website.
            Greg Schoenberg recently posted..2017 ACA Rate Proposals are in…yuck!My Profile

  10. Jim on December 1, 2016 at 8:10 am

    Very informative article, Becky. Thanks.
    Jim recently posted..A Few Weeks in Rosamond…My Profile

    • Becky on December 2, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      You’re welcome Jim.

  11. Lynn on December 1, 2016 at 7:49 am

    Thank you Becky for such a great & informative article! I appreciate your taking the time, especially considering your current heavy work hours.

    I have insurance questions but haven’t been sure who to ask, as I’m currently a nomad (have been since Nov 2014) but not an RVer as I can’t afford a vehicle. I have traveler’s insurance through World Nomads, which as a 58 year old female costs me $1050 a year. It covers me all over the world, outside a 100 mile radius of “home.” I don’t technically have a home since I got laid off from my job, couldn’t find another (even with a 4 year degree – it seems there’s a bit of age discrimination out there) and I couldn’t afford my apartment, so I sold my stuff & took off to travel. My mailing address is at a friend’s house in Michigan, my original home state.

    Last year (2015) I was exempt from the penalty as I never set foot in the US, but for this year I’m concerned. From Jan 1 until June 2 I was still in Thailand, then after 18 months out of the country, I stopped in California to house sit, see my daughters & friends & renew my passport. Since Oct 22, I’ve been in Mexico, where I’ll remain until my visa runs out in April.

    My questions are as follows – does my traveler’s insurance count? Somewhere I heard that it doesn’t, that to avoid the penalty I have to have Obamacare too. In Oct 2015 I took out $12,000 as early retirement, as I have zero income other than that (not allowed to work on tourist visas in other countries and I haven’t been able to figure out on-line income yet). I had to pay the 10% penalty since I’m not yet 59 1/2, plus some taxes, plus just renewed my traveler’s insurance last month. I sold my 12 year old stored car when that money ran out last summer. I’m about out of money again, so will have to take out more retirement, of which there’s not much left. If I have to pay taxes & penalty on that income PLUS a no-Obamacare fine, that doesn’t leave much for living on next year. I get by on not much, but food, transportation and accommodations still cost something.

    I’m not sure which state to file taxes in let alone get insured – my snail mail goes to MI but I haven’t set foot there in over 2 years. Last year I filed in MI through H&R Block, but due to my unusual circumstances and taking out early retirement it took the long form & $350 for tax prep costs. And the accountant told me next year to file wherever I planned to live. I spent June to mid-Oct this year in CA, my only time in the States, but don’t have an address there (I believe CA has its own insurance called mediCal or something instead of Obamacare). So any idea what I can do from here in Mexico to avoid this penalty? Or who to call & ask if you don’t know? I’m trying to decide whether to take out my early retirement income this year in Dec or next year in Jan (if not this year, my income will be zero and I can file the short form, but not sure I can make it through the month).

    Sorry this is so long & complicated, but you’re my first ray of light trying to figure out what to do. It’s sad that one can no longer afford to live in their own country, but if not for that situation I wouldn’t be out seeing the world 🙂

    Thank you for any suggestions!

    • Becky on December 2, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      Heya Lynn,

      Wow, that is complicated.

      I’m not certified when it comes to helping others with health insurance, and it sounds to me like that’s probably what you’ll need as this is such a convoluted situation. I’d hate to give you advice and steer you wrong when I really have no idea how insurance works for travelers outside the US (I’ve only traveled in the US to date).

      Or, maybe call the hotline at the healthcare marketplace and explain their situation and see if you can get the fine print from them? That’s about as “from the horse’s mouth” as you can get. All the times I’ve talked to them on the phone to enroll have been pretty painless.

      Best of luck to you!

    • Paul on December 9, 2016 at 4:54 pm


      google 72t, it’s the IRS section of the tax code on penalty free withdrawals if you quit, get fired or retire on or after age 55. You will still pay the ordinary tax on the amount you withdraw according to your tax bracket, but you do not pay the 10 % penalty. it’s worth looking into and see if it pertains to your situation. If it does pertain to your situation then see about amending past tax returns where you paid the penalty.

      • Lynn on December 10, 2016 at 7:12 am

        Thank you so much Paul!! I’ll check that out 🙂

        • Matt on December 31, 2016 at 9:16 pm

          Paul is correct. If you have a company retirement plan, like a 401k, and you didn’t leave your job till the year you turned 55, you can avoid the 10% penalty. If the money was in an IRA or was rolled into an IRA, this exceotion will not apply.

          If this is the case, the HRB tax preparer needs to amend your tax return for free. They have a refund guarantee that states they will always get you your maximum refund…in this case they failed! Your tax pro should have come up with this exception on his own.

          Remember that you won’t pay federal taxes on the first $10,300 you withdraw. If you can avoid the penalty as well, that will really help you stretch your funds.

          Let me know if you have further questions. You can leave me your email as well if you prefer.


  12. Dan on December 1, 2016 at 3:20 am

    Hello Becky! Glad to hear that you made it through the Black Friday/Monday madness!
    Also thanks for the information about the insurance coverages. I just started Medicare coverage this year and I am trying to decide what I will enroll in for a supliment coverage..or not. Too many decisions and the whole setup may chage next year if the Trump Administration does do away with Obamacare. Time will tell.

    One quick question. You stated in the linked Insurance coverages in South Dakota post that you would be moving your domicile to Texas because of the insurance changes, but I see from this post that you are still using South Dakota. I am getting ready to go fulltime and trying to decide which State to use, so I am curious why you decided to stay with SD, or are you still planning to move? As always, Thank you for your excellent postings and wealth of information to us newbies!

    • Becky on December 2, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      Heya Dan, thanks and I’m glad I made it too, haha.

      I know very little about the medicare side of things but Kyle’s site offers advice for that sector too so you can certainly head over there and check it out.

      I post one insurance update a year and last year’s update talked about Texas (the one I linked was for the year before). Texas did away with their nationwide coverage ACA plans and so there was no longer a good reason for me to move there (which I did mention briefly in this post but yeah it wouldn’t be clear without reading that post for 2016 so I understand the confusion).

  13. Trudy M. on November 30, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Wow. We make a bit too much to qualify for Obamacare. My husband and I retired and now live mainly in Florida. We are healthy, in our early 50’s and our Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida policy is $1500 a month. Yep, that’s right. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad for you personally that you are getting good coverage at a reduced rate. But at some point I have to wonder if those of us in the $50K/year range aren’t subsidizing (in addition to our taxes) the Affordable Care Plans. It’s no wonder that many people want to change them.

    • Becky on December 2, 2016 at 5:27 pm

      Well, from my understanding Trudy that’s the amount for an individual, it might be different for couples, I know it’s different for families – I didn’t research that end of it myself. Even before the subsidy that’s a huge difference – $360 vs. $1,500. Age and state make a difference I know, and I bet your plan has better coverage than mine, I did go for the second cheapest knowing I’m unlikely to need it.

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