As we wind down our working careers and slide naked into our next life of full-time travel in an RV, figuring out our healthcare options was the major remaining task on our plates. After months of research, we’ve decided on healthcare.
Without making you read a bunch of text before spilling the beans, here goes: We chose Liberty HealthShare.
Liberty Healthshare is not health “insurance”, but it is exempt from Obamacare (thus, no penalties!).
Quick health check: I almost never go to the doctor. I work out routinely and lead a healthy life. We eat mostly vegan at home. Occasional drinks. Last blood test returned perfectly normal. More or less, I don’t need much in the way of insurance. My wife suffers from migraines, but she is as active and healthy as I am.
Why Liberty HealthShare?
We hate health insurance. In fact, we hate insurance in general. The insurance industry is a huge money-maker for large corporations in the United States, and there’s a reason for that. Thankfully, we have USAA for our car insurance – which helps to ease the psychological burden of maintaining insurance, but with healthcare, we didn’t want to touch the whole “Marketplace” thing if we could avoid it…even with subsidies.
Healthcare is also more difficult for full-time RVers, like us. Most traditional health insurance companies won’t cover health costs once you leave your home state. While we do maintain a home address, we won’t actually be at that address the large majority of the time. We’re travelers, damnit.
Insurance just doesn’t work for us. But, a health share can. You incur a medical expense. You submit a claim. Done. It doesn’t matter where in the United States you are.
What is a health share? More or less, you’re sharing the medical costs among those who are generally healthy. Monthly dues are all pooled together and collectively fund the healthcare costs of those who are members of the health share. Health share services are about as straightforward as anything I’ve seen in the healthcare industry.
Liberty HealthShare happens to be a non-profit organization, which means revenue is not the predominant factor in health services for its members. However, they aren’t required to cover medical expenses, either. More on that below.
How much do we pay for this service?
We signed up for Liberty’s “Complete” service account, which covers 100% of eligible healthcare costs up to $1,000,000.
As a couple, we pay $299 / month for service on both of us. We also paid a $135 signup fee upon acceptance into the program. The plan requires a $1,000 Annual Unshared Amount, which is Liberty’s way of describing out-of-pocket expenses.
There is no such thing as “in-network” doctors with health shares. For our $299 / month, we can go to any doctor at any hospital – a requirement for those of us who travel.
The downside of health shares
While health sharing services can be quite a bit cheaper and more flexible than traditional insurance plans, they also aren’t governed by the same laws that insurance companies operate under. This means that health shares are under no legal obligation to cover your medical costs.
In addition, most require their members to abide by certain ethical rules – such as no smoking or excessive drinking, etc. And if you’re skydiving and hurt yourself, they probably won’t cover those types of expenses. If you are engaging in selective activity that increases your chances of huge healthcare costs, health shares may not cover you.
Including pre-existing conditions. My wife suffers from migraines, which is a pre-existing condition. Liberty HealthShare will not cover migraine-specific treatment for the first year. While not ideal, I can at least appreciate the fact that we know that up front.
Health shares aren’t required to accept you. If you are overweight or lead an unhealthy lifestyle, you may not be a candidate for membership. That’s just the way it is, and it helps to keep costs down for all members.
Check out their “Do I Qualify?” page for more on how Liberty runs their ethical rules and system of beliefs.
Even with these downsides, Liberty HealthShare was a clear winner for us. It enables us to maintain our mobile lifestyle and allows us to meet the federal government requirement for healthcare at a reasonable cost. It also lets us avoid the whole Obamacare thing and the uncertainty around what it might look like down the road. Liberty HealthShare is a simple solution for us.
And, we like simple.
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