How To Live Without Health Insurance In Your RV Lifestyle

Wondering how to live without health insurance in your rv lifestyle? Oh boy….Ok folks, this post is long overdue and is on everyone’s mind when deciding to take the plunge into rving without a financial safety net. Now I can tell you that I could probably write on this subject for the next 8 days, but you wouldn’t want to read a post that long, would you? I could also give out our phone number…but that would be a little overwhelming for me at this point in time. So here it goes……..

Let me start at the beginning…this is ONE POST in a series of many posts to come about health insurance in the rving lifestyle. Think of it as a research paper that you are only receiving the first few pages of. What this means is that we will gladly reply to comments that are questions…but not get into debates at this point in time. Why? Because there are so many pieces that must come together to present our feelings and suggestions on the topic of health care in these modern times. Until we have all of it bundled together, plus ideas of how to live without health insurance, you are not reading the entire “research paper.”

Some of the ideas we will post in the future we will just “mention” now. Emergency, unexpected care will always be the challenge. But in your daily life, there are ways to pay for basic medical care in an affordable fashion. Some ideas are:

  • Having prevention tests done at free clinics at your local hospital or keeping an eye on Walgreen’s free clinics
  • Many basic dental treatments are offered for just a few dollars at community colleges
  • There are Walmarts and affordable clinics all over the country that tell you in advance what the cost is for a checkup, xray, lab work, etc…and it is not unreasonable
  • Many traditional prescriptions can be found in generic form, for little cost (like Walmart’s $4.00 prescriptions)

The idea is that you pay for all of your normal care out of pocket, knowing the most affordable places to go in advance (doing your homework in the area you are rving in). If emergency should strike, hospitals are willing to work with you on payment – but you would only go if in an emergency…not for routine care.

We know this is truly a sensitive topic and one we have postponed for quite awhile intentionally – but it is the elephant in the room, something everyone wants to know about…so it is time to start addressing it. It is difficult to discuss because it draws so much emotion and misunderstanding from those on opposite sides of the fence (and those on the fence). Sometimes it feels like you are listening to a debate of two completely opposing religions battling it out in the ring. While we are all preoccupied, throwing sand at each other in the sandbox, our health care system continues to disintegrate.

So for this post, let’s start at the beginning – so that we assumptions aren’t made that don’t exist…here is how we feel about (and here are our experiences with) modern, mainstream medicine in the USA.

  1. We do appreciate how many lives are saved by the medical profession every minute
  2. We would go to a doctor if we had a medical emergency
  3. There are many wonderful, caring doctors out there who are devoted to helping their patients
  4. For the majority of our lives, we had health insurance via good jobs, compliments of our BA and PhD, so we understand how the system and process works
  5. We have dealt with the financial burden of three surgeries (no, not minor like when having a tooth pulled), plus numerous trips to the ER and diagnostic tests, so we are no stranger to events that warrant medical care, nor the costs that accumulate from it
  6. We have taken pharmaceuticals when necessary and understand how some prescriptions save lives everyday
  7. We understand how some tests can catch disease in advance (cancers, etc.) and, therefore, can save lives

Ok…we have got that out in the open. We have never lived in a black and white world…and we aren’t about to now. Absolutely, modern advancements and the medical profession have saved lives – and we have utilized them ourselves.

So now let’s move onto why we live without health insurance and our experiences with it. When we lived in Illinois over a decade ago, we had no trouble securing “great” health insurance…and we used it for every little ache and pain because it cost so little. When we moved to Montana, we both got jobs and NEITHER offered health insurance. So we took the financial hit and bought private insurance. We paid $350 month for NO BENEFITS and, after one unexpected surgery, we still owed $18,000. We also met people whose employers “offered” health insurance, but on a single income paying the monthly premium was impossible, so they declined the insurance.

We lived in a remote, rural area and started recognizing we knew few people with health insurance. Even when I was the executive director of a non profit, making a good salary, our small staff of three paid employees was too little for the Board of Directors to offer insurance. Fortunately, many places are willing to work with patients because it isn’t unusual or unheard of to have a job without benefits in this part of the country. We quickly began to see that the urban life we left behind in Illinois was not the model for the rest of the country…health insurance was a luxury, not a given.

So here are our feelings about health care in general:

  1. It appears the ridiculous costs of medical care and dependence on health insurance have left people with two choices in life…find a job that offers health insurance (though many policies are a huge financial burden, even with a good paying job with benefits) or don’t…even if this means you must live in an urban area to find a job with benefits (keep in mind there are many “rural” states where there are few jobs with decent benefits)…and pay premiums you cannot afford, while constantly fearing a medical emergency will occur…so you remain chained to your desk just to pay for “what if” health care. Is this how man was meant to live – where we live and how we live are dictated by health insurance policies?
  2. We believe many of the illnesses we struggle with today are due to our modern lifestyle – so change your lifestyle and reduce the need for mainstream medicine (hint: autoimmune diseases, mental illnesses and the astonishing incidence of cancer didn’t exist a century ago…thank you processed foods, the physical impact of continual exposure to stress and other modern inventions for making us so ill as a society)
  3. Greed has replaced medicine – pharmaceutical companies can and do save lives, but many people are becoming sicker due to the medicines they are on…some are on a dozen drugs!! Yet these dangerous drugs are being pumped out and advertised incessantly. Ask your doctor to “try” a med you saw on a tv ad…betcha you will leave the office with it in hand
  4. No, those without health insurance aren’t the problem of rising health care costs! When we had health insurance, we went to doctors for every sniffle, took their drug samples because “why not?”, got prescriptions filled that we tossed away after two days…why? Because they were dirt cheap. What was to keep us from trying this and that, wasting it all, when it cost a mere $10 copay? Granted, some without insurance and no money may use the ER as their doctor, and that isn’t ok…but for us we absolutely aren’t abusing the system…we avoid the system! We try to live healthier lives to avoid doctor visits, we don’t turn to antibiotics at our first sneeze, etc. Those who are constantly sitting in a waiting room at the clinic for non-emergencies are raising the costs of care…not those who stay out of the clinics unless absolutely necessary.
  5. When you pay cash at a doctor’s office, it is CHEAPER than what is charged if you had health insurance (but you don’t pay attention because it is “covered”). Many are discovering that if they call to schedule blood work in advance that the clinic is more than happy to give you a deep discount on the cost…the current medical prices are inflated because of insurance
  6. Keeping your immune system healthy is the key to fighting so many of the awful illnesses that plague our society today (again, didn’t even exist a century ago). We do so via maitake, wild oregano, garlic and many other natural products. We aren’t invulnerable, but since doing so we avoid colds, flu and so much more every year. Yep, before we changed our lifestyle, we were sicker…guaranteed.
  7. Modern medicine, for many ailments, merely suppresses symptoms, they don’t find the cause. This puts you on a dependent cycle of needing insurance to pay for a million tests, a million drug trials. I can’t tell you how many wasted tests and medicines we paid for. We haven’t been to a “modern” doctor in years (nor have we gotten sick) because we found holistic doctors truly “get it.” They don’t write prescriptions to make us forget our stomach is in turmoil, our hair is thinning, our cholesterol is up, etc…they look at the whole body to figure out what is causing the problem in the first place…then fix it by eliminating the problem. Read about our story in detail HERE!
  8. The system forces you to overspend. After reading about how unnecessary dental xrays were annually, not to mention the dangers (and knowing mankind survived until 100 years ago without them)…and also learning they were in place to generate more income for the dental clinic, I decided to say “no” – and my dentist’s reply?…”find another dentist.” Yep…even when trying to save money, I could not be treated unless I played the game. I had dental insurance at the time, mind you! It would have cost me nothing…I just chose to not accept the mandated xray – and lost my dentist because of it. I was being forced to waste money when I had just had an xray last year, and it was fine…just wanted my teeth cleaned! The system is set up to keep money rolling in…keep your eyes open to the “machine” and what its motivation is.

So we will end the introduction to living without health insurance here for now. The point is that prevention is the key, there are doctors out there who can help you find the cause of the diseases you have right now that keep you dependent on 8 pharmaceuticals each month, hospitals routinely offer free clinics and testing (you just need to keep an eye on them in advance and mark your calendar). There are clinics available where they welcome your cash payment with a discount rather than playing the insurance game. So the first chapter on having no health insurance will conclude with opening your mind to the many opportunities for health care that are available – and taking inventory of what medical care you truly need on a daily basis. Having insurance made us careless – it made us overuse the medical system, get tests we didn’t need, take drugs that sometimes made us sicker. Now we see doctors who we pay in cash, who will get to the bottom of our problem – not send us on an escapade of ruling out this and that, often costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars without insurance. We are in control of our medical care and decisions – and it feels 100% better.

Whew. Chapter 1 Concludes………..

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15 Responses to How To Live Without Health Insurance In Your RV Lifestyle

  1. Terry says:

    I am tired of the health care costs and even more tired of the incompetant doctors I have seen. I spent 20 years going to from doctor to doctor for stomach problems only to discover on my own that it all (well, mostly) went away on a gluten free diet. I spent at least 10 years with signs of Graves disease before I found my symptoms on line and BEGGED my doctor to run thyroid tests, proving my diagnosis. I spent an entire year with clogged sinuses and 3 different doctors who hadn’t a clue. I accidentally unclogged my sinuses with ALLERGY BUSTER (go get it!), a $10 natural over the counter cure. I could go on…. But now I need some direction. Due to my autoimmune issues and major vitamin deficiencies, every cold I get turns into a horror show. Sinus infections, bronchitis and pneumonia. I have not gotten rid of a cold in 4 years on my own. Could you maybe explain in more detail what you take to keep yourself healthy? I know good food, but I’d like to learn more about the oregano and mushroom, specifically. How did you learn of these? Do you do aromatherapy? My $2,000 a month premiums for medical insurance that is of little use to me is driving me insane.
    I love your blog and all the really useful information you’ve put on it. Keep writing!

    • Cheap RV Living says:

      Hi Terry…Thank you for your nice comments. I do intend to keep writing, no worries!

      Ironically, though I boast of not needing doctors, etc in years and years I am having such a hard time with the climate here – I am “stuck” in Illinois for this summer, due to my mom’s unexpected death as well as a daughter about to become a true grown up…have to be here right now. However, I remember why I had to leave Illinois for NW Montana 12 years ago…the humidity literally kills me. I mean, these 100 degree temps, more “urban air” and dripping wet/mildewy air around the clock makes me feel TERRIBLE. I will never be in Illinois during this time of year again…I can’t! My eye pressure, sinuses, chest congestion all from the climate. So just so you know, I am under the weather (no pun intended) for the first time in forever…all from a climate change my body is rejecting.

      Never heard of Allergy Buster but will definitely look it up…thanks for sharing that.

      So I bring up the “climate” I am in, to first ask what climate you might be in that keeps irritating your respiratory system, causing a secondary infection. It can be moisture, dust, mildew, environmental allergens (smoke, perfumes, etc) that act as the “trigger” and then you just lose the battle. NetiPots, by the way, are wonderful to keep the sinuses clean. Anyway…be sure you aren’t consistently getting ill through any triggers like these, ok? Often, the sinus drainage is what gets into our lungs…causing a whole host of respiratory problems. We think we are picking up colds here and there, when actually our environment makes us prone to getting sick.

      As for immune boosters, I only discovered these after years of stubborn research…I need verifiable “facts” before trying a product, and the Grifron brand of maitake had been used in clinical tests that were quite impressive (plus it has d fraction which is important). It simply was one of the most powerful immune boosters I found, which I could afford (they have a very expensive strength for those fighting cancer, etc…you don’t need that strength for everyday immune system boosting). Also, my own holistic doctor and my trying it myself proved that garlic is, absolutely, nature’s antibiotic. Not only do I cook with fresh garlic, my doctor told me to get those cheap gelcaps and take 1 for prevention but, at first sign of illness, take as much as your body can tolerate without stomach upset. Also, there is much research about Wild Oil Of Oregano and its amazing immune boosting/illness fighting properties. You will note that much of what I take is sublingual, a few drops under the tongue for fast/strong absorption. When your stomach is in flux, tablets can fly right through undigested. That is why I drink liquid vitamin shakes (love Peaceful Planet’s blend). Anything to help actually absorbing those nutrients.

      Wow…as usual, here I go rambling! Anyway…make sure you aren’t getting repetitive colds from environmental triggers. If you are, eliminate those (get humidifier if dry air bothers you, get dehumidifier if moist air does, get air cleaner if it is dust, etc).

      I know you are fed up with spending too much, but I would beg you to try a holistic doctor ONCE. The autoimmune problems can be an immune system reacting to more than just gluten. Unlike a normal MD, consultation and testing shouldn’t be bad…and you don’t keep testing and testing. Go there prepared, with every ailment written out in advance and see what you think. Even just a consult without testing can make you feel sane and grounded…and not alone.

      Because things can be a domino, I could never guess on what is the starting point of your ailments. Even one wrong prescription can set off a chain of bad events, including antibiotics or even the wrong thyroid med. How lucky I was that my doctor knew, due to my autoimmune Hashimoto thyroid condition, that I should NOT take Armour thyroid (which most trying natural take). This is just an example of how a holistic doctor needs to look at your whole body, everything you put in it, your environment, etc. and then start figuring out the puzzle.

      To sum it up, maybe you catch colds due to a compromised immune system…but if it is a trigger that is hurting the immune system (allergic food, a medicine, environment) then it is hard to just take immune boosters and expect them to override what is tearing us down in the first place.

      Geez I hope this helps somewhat…Keep in touch! Robin

  2. Nina says:

    Very interested to see this set of posts develop. I’ve been thinking about tackling this topic myself for a while. We’ve got a low-cost, very high-deductable insurance (in case something serious happens), but have paid for everything else out-of-pocket for past 3 years. So I’ve spent alot of time researching prices, shopping around for care, negotiating the nightmare that is healthcare costs. It’s a bear of a topic and has really opened my eyes to lack of price transparency in the system. We ALSO are huge believers in holistic health & the importance of self-healing (we too suffered from unknown food sensitivities, specifically gluten, for years without ever being diagnosed).

    In any case enough rambling…really looking forward to this set of posts!

    • Cheap RV Living says:

      Thank you Nina…for both of your comments!

      The health topic is so exhausting to think about, let alone post on…we completely understand. One of the problems, I think, is because in my own life I have found peace, understanding and I am comfortable with my feelings on it all. But try to present it to others, even supportive and open-minded souls, and I feel I am on defense before even clicking “submit.”

      To change your feeling about health insurance, you have to explore so many other important matters (like quality of health care, big Pharma, holistic medicine, etc)…and how do you put that all in one post?

      Again, look forward to chatting with you in the future…we are all gluten free here, too (my daughter was diagnosed with celiac in 1996, when health food stores had little to offer a two year old, so we are familiar with gluten free for sure).

      Take care and please keep in touch!

      Robin and Jim

  3. laurie park says:

    my husband and i are in the beginning stages of leaving it all behind and living on the road…this was a very interesting article…my husband is diabetic and i am on depression medicine…both of us are WAY overweight…i know that our weight is a big contributor to our health…convincing dan of this is another thing…if (even after weight loss ) one or both of us would have to continue these meds…how would you suggest we handle this best?

    • Cheap RV Living says:

      Laurie – We feel for you and Dan so much. Before going further, please do read the link I put in the post, which is my personal journey from a world of doctors into living without – it sums up a lot of where we stand on these things.

      Of course, you recognize that it would be dangerous for me to make any type of medical suggestions. But I feel I can say, knowing what I know now, what I would do in your situation.

      When you read my link, you will see that we believe strongly in two things: every medical problem happens for a reason AND the domino effect. Unfortunately, our current medical trend is to label you with a diagnosis for life, so you feel depressed and chained to your condition, drugs and treatments. What amazes me is that people (some of my immediate family included) can have a ton of meds on top of the fridge, which they take everyday…and they still feel awful! They are broke, depressed by their condition, popping pills that give them a host of new side effects, overwhelmed with medical bills…and they feel literally terrible. For us, this isn’t acceptable. This isn’t how we are supposed to live or feel. We all want that diagnosis, so we can proclaim what is wrong with us – but we don’t get a whole lot better.

      One of my family members gained 70 pounds from ONE of his tons of diabetes pills. It happened rapidly, yet the doctor told him to go on a diet…never connecting the weight with the pill. When my relative decided to quit that pill, all of the weight fell off.

      If you step outside of mainstream medicine (just try it once) you will find scores of medical professionals who look at the whole body as a domino system, one thing leads to the next. They are called holistic doctors. Mine is an MD (don’t let people convince you these doctors are quacks…they aren’t informed if that is their opinion). My doctor treated his relative with MS, finding the cause of her illness (often our immune systems due to diet) and she healed. As for diabetes, let me say there are scores of doctors out there to help regulate diabetes through finding the cause and regulation by diet, without prescriptions that have tons of side effects. The same holds true, by the way, for many other “must have” meds doctors prescribe like candy. If I have high blood pressure, I want to find out why and reverse it, don’t you?

      As for depression, I worked in mental health for years and finally quit because the majority of my clients didn’t need a drug. Their lifestyle, environment and other situational factors (health, like hormonal problems) were causing their despair…yet the docs kept writing those prescriptions. The mind, like the body, only needs to heal through finding what is at the root of the problem.

      Laurie, I could go on for days on this…because I’ve been a “student” of this for over a decade…I have nothing to sell, because healing in many cases doesn’t come in a bottle. If you believe everything happens for a reason in our bodies and you are dedicated to being happy and healthy, you will take the journey I did to start finding answers that help you get better – not depress you with a heartbreaking diagnosis and lifetime of pills. The answers are out there.

      As you’ll see in my story, illness, high cholesterol and weight gain in me were from the domino effect. They were due to hormonal problems which, when fixed, all disappeared…and the hormonal problem was due to an autoimmune thyroid condition…and I got the autoimmune disease from a compromised immune system…and my immune system was compromised due to poor nutrition from SEVERE FOOD ALLERGIES which kept my stomach in flux and unable to absorb nutrients (no, I don’t believe irritable bowel is a diagnosis, by the way…it was allergies). You see the pattern here? Everything happens for a reason.

      We wish you and Dan happiness and health…thanks for commenting and hope to see you here again!

  4. Laura says:

    Great article. If we could only buy health insurance like auto insurance paying for what we need, the industry would be better and people would be better served.

    • Cheap RV Living says:

      Laura…thanks for the great point. How true!

      There is no such thing as affordable insurance – and so many people we’ve met, who are miserable in their jobs, constantly say the same thing “I need insurance so I’m stuck in this job forever.” Certainly I would sleep easier knowing if I needed an emergency appendectomy, I’m “covered” – but our system is set up that many people have to live without it or work at a job they despise for the “in case.” That is just unacceptable. We’ve got one life to live and, in our opinion, it can’t be sacrificed due to a completely dysfunctional health care system in the USA. Thanks again for commenting!

      I’m going to have to dig up articles I’ve read where for some medical procedures, people are finding it cheaper to buy air fare and have everything done in another country, where they can afford to pay cash due to how affordable care is, and it still turns out cheaper than carrying health insurance.

  5. dave says:

    This may be part of a future solutions article so I don’t want to steal your thunder, but search “Health care sharing ministries” and you will learn of another reasonable option. There are 3 large orgs., I am a member of Samaritan Ministries.

    • Cheap RV Living says:

      Dave, thank you for commenting. We had never heard of your suggestion and appreciate your bringing it up. We are “stubborn” and because we made the choice to live this lifestyle, we are aware of the risks and not likely to ask for help. But we have many readers who were thrown into this lifestyle due to losing a job, home, etc…and though they are now happy they are in it, they might be carrying past financial health burdens with them. Very glad you posted this as an option to anyone reading this post! Thank you! PS Liked your blog…popped over and took a peek!

  6. Thank you for embarking on this project. It is much needed. Much!

    I’d like to link to this article, and future installments, on our Healthcare for Poor People page.


    • Cheap RV Living says:

      Roxi and Annie – Jim and I cannot believe the sweet post you did on your blog about us…we’ve GOT to meet in person someday! Sounds like we could talk forever…What we also cannot believe is that we’ve been busy with some new projects this week and then said “oh! our site of the month is due!” Of course there are many wonderful sites out there, but you both win the prize (just give me a little time to get it together and will contact you when it is posted).

      In the meantime, YOUR resources on health care (hey readers, follow the link in their comment) is so informative and miles ahead of us…we’re just getting started on this “hot topic” and have many ideas – but even more importantly sometimes is to get this “difficult” topic out there, like both of our sites are doing, to let people know they aren’t alone.

      And finally……..a Fleetwood Bounder…really? Of course you know ours is named “Joey” and he talks in his Australian accent on this blog, under his own category, from time to time.

      Looking forward to an awesome rving friendship with you…will be in touch! Robin and Jim

      • It would be great to get a shoutout from you guys! And, somehow I missed your Joey! I’ll keep looking.

        We embarked on this life knowing most of what we’d be sacrificing, but living life on other people’s terms had become oppressive and soul-sucking. I would look ahead to working until “retirement age” and I couldn’t breathe for the thought of it.

        NOW I see that you are also traveling with cats! Good grief, I need to get reading!