My name is John... I have a problem... I'm a Fulltimer Wannabe.
I'm 50 and my wife is 40. We've been Escapees members for a few years now, but this is my very first post to the forum.
In about 24 months we plan to quit our careers and become fulltime RV'ers. We've been researching, planning, saving, and dreaming of doing this for years. I've been familiarizing myself with all the issues regarding choosing a state to domicile in. Because of our age, we're still a l-o-n-g way off from being able to participate in Medicare, so being able to obtain good private health insurance is high on our priority list when it comes to choosing a domicile.
In reviewing our health insurance options, I've discovered some really great news, but also I seem to be hitting a pretty significant roadblock with certain residency requirements in the eyes of the health insurance companies. I know this issue has been discussed here and many other forums before (I've spent hours reading about it), but I still have some unanswered questions and concerns. I'm hoping some of you out there may be able to offer suggestions.
First the good news:
As residents of WA state currently covered by an employer's group health insurance plans, when we quit our jobs, state law requires that the health insurance companies in this state sell us a private health insurance policy without having to go through an underwriting process. We'd also be charged the same price as every other customer in this state since we have flat group-like premiums in this state. In other words, in our particular case the insurers have to sell us a health insurance policy no matter what preexisting conditions we might have and without any price penalty for our health. This privilege alone is ample reason for us to consider remaining legal residents of WA state even after we become fulltime RV'ers. Since WA state also has no income tax, and since we're already well established here with our driver's licenses, vehicle registration, voter registration, will's, etc., it makes the decision even easier.
Now the bad news:
I've learned that a legal domicile for one's driver's license, vehicle registration, and voting are one thing, but the esidency requirements for a health insurance policy is something completely different. For example, Regence Blue Cross of WA has this printed prominently on their application:
WASHINGTON RESIDENCE ADDRESS
To be eligible to apply for our individual plans, you must reside in our service area for at least 30 days prior to submitting your application and continue to live in our service area for six months out of the year. A photocopy of a valid Washington state driver's license, identification card, or current utility bill with name and address may be requested as proof of residency."
My original plan when we transitioned to fulltiming was to use a UPS mail forwarding service in WA state for our domicile address after we sold our house, then we'd just wander around the country with no particular destination or length of stay in mind. Since we do like the summers in WA state, and since we have friends here, I figured we'd probably wind up spending at least a few months here each year. But after looking at that residency requirement statement above, and after reading what other fulltimers have encountered, I'm assuming any change of mailing address that even smells like a business address (like a mail forwarding business) will trigger a requirement to *prove* we physically live in WA state for six months out of the year.
Obtaining a health insurance policy after we quit our jobs, but before we sell our house, shouldn't be a problem. I'm just not sure what would happen when I need to change our mailing address with the health insurance provider after we sell our home. We have no relatives in the state who might allow us to use their residence address, and while we do have friends, I'm not sure I feel comfortable involving them in this sort of thing.
I'm beginning to wonder if a possible solution to this problem would be for us to buy a small deeded RV lot somewhere in WA state which would allow us to satisfy proof of residency for health insurance purposes. We'd still need something like utility bills to back it up.
Does anyone know if there are physical residency requirements for obtaining and maintaining health insurance coverage in Texas (specifically at the Escapees property in Livingston)?
Thanks in advance,
Edited by John L., 26 May 2011 - 04:50 PM.