Seeing as how this topic is bound to come up again in this blog – and maybe end up becoming a major theme (although I hope not) – I figured I’d start it now… We’re looking for health insurance. In the USA. And it’s not looking great.
Before we left for our adventures we were covered through the school district. Since I worked as a teacher I was able to cover the whole family for a very reasonable amount. It was decent coverage. Life was good.
Once we left the USA, we converted to a high-deductible policy through IMG that was designed for expats and long-term travelers. We’ve never had reason to file a claim so I have no idea if they are any good or not (have heard good reports from other travelers), but knowing that we have a policy has given me tremendous peace of mind over the years. (I’ve written about health insurance here)
Now we’re back in the USA and hoping to stay here. IMG stipulates that we be out of the country for at least six months each year in order to continue coverage, so we had hoped to find something else. So far, my (admittedly very basic) search has led me nowhere.
Seeing as how we are covered until January 1, 2012 I haven’t spent a lot of time on this issue yet, but I have to say I’m stunned. Truly blown away. Yes – I’ve read loads of articles about how unaffordable health insurance is in the USA, but I didn’t “get it” – until now.
Right now we are living on the income generated by rental properties we own and the small amount this website is generating. Our needs are basic and we live frugally. We’re currently living on about half of what I used to make as a teacher – but I’m not complaining. At this point in time, we prefer the freedom of this life to the constraints of a classroom.
A quick check of health insurance policies floored me – if we were to switch to another policy, we would be paying every penny we have coming in for insurance. EVERY PENNY! JUST FOR HEALTH INSURANCE! That would leave nothing to buy food, nothing to pay electricity, not a single red cent for clothes or bike parts or – God forbid – to see a doctor. Every dollar we bring in would go for paying the health insurance.
Seeing as how we aren’t bringing in a lot, I wondered if maybe we would qualify for low-income health insurance. Holy Mother of God!! We would have to be living on less than $382 for a family of four to qualify! That’s just downright insane. NOBODY can live for less than $382/month for four people in the USA! You just can’t do it.
At this point we don’t know what we will do come January. Our hope is that we’ll find some sort of affordable policy out there. Maybe one of us will try and find a job with benefits just so we can get health insurance. Maybe we’ll leave the country and hit the road again.
I don’t know, but it makes me very, very angry that we may have to leave the United States of America – our own country – because we can’t afford health insurance here. I can’t believe that is a very real possibility in our lives.
Maybe we’ll go back to Nicaragua where they have great, free medical care. But dang – I had hoped to live happily ever after in the US of A.
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