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.
- We do appreciate how many lives are saved by the medical profession every minute
- We would go to a doctor if we had a medical emergency
- There are many wonderful, caring doctors out there who are devoted to helping their patients
- 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
- 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
- We have taken pharmaceuticals when necessary and understand how some prescriptions save lives everyday
- 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:
- 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?
- 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)
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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!
- 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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