Although enjoying the full-time RVing lifestyle may come with some trying moments, most former and current full-timers I’ve talked to think it’s a blast. My husband and I love everything about it except for one thing: the limited health insurance options for full-time RVers like us who are too young for Medicare. Unfortunately, these options are dwindling as the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment season kicks off this month.
Last summer, those of us with individual health insurance policies were stunned when major providers like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas announced it is dropping all PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plans for individual policy holders, blaming rising costs of medical care and provisions of the Affordable Care Act. In Texas alone, nearly 400,000 people will be affected, not just full-time RVers.
This is a huge game-changer for younger full-timers because we must rely on PPO plans should we need medical care. With my PPO plan I could see doctors anywhere in the U.S. as long as they were in the company’s network of providers. PPOs always cost more but they were worth it because lower-priced HMO plans require members to get treated in their home state if they want coverage, and force them to have an assigned primary care doctor who acts as the gatekeeper to all medical care. Most importantly, these gatekeepers tend to restrict access to premium and experimental care because HMOs are so focused on cost-savings.
And now sadly, the good old days are over according to insurance brokers like Kyle Henson of RVer Insurance Exchange. “It’s just getting worse for RVers,” he bluntly told me in a recent phone call. This was not what I hoped to hear, but Henson went on to explain that in 2016, HMOs will be the main (if not only) option for full-timers
René M. Agredano