Sharing ones mistakes is never easy – it requires an individual to become extremely vulnerable.
Being vulnerable is not easy for me. I prefer to keep things private – I don’t enjoy attention. What is easier is putting up a front so that all appears well. After all, we all carry burdens – the last thing I want is to add additional burdens onto others.
I don’t say this to evoke empathy from anyone – I say this so you truly understand I share this only to educate others.
If you truly want to live this lifestyle, you must learn from others to ensure you don’t lose the one thing you are seeking – FREEDOM!
When researching this lifestyle, I did my research!! After all, I am an educator – we LOVE to research! I made sure I truly understand what I was getting into. It all started with creating a budget. I needed to know what type of expenses were to be expected. I read any blog I could find that was willing to share their expenses while being on the road. I knew I would have fixed expenses and flexible expenses, and that those flexible expenses would just continue to grow until they were needed. I knew those expense you did not touch – they needed to be there, just in case. So, I created a spreadsheet listing everything I could think of and more – just to ensure I had a real sound idea of what the monthly cost would be.
Once the budget was created – it was time to turn my attention to the #1 reason that prevents non-retired individuals from hitting the road – health insurance.
We are not retired – and as an independent contractor, I did not have health insurance provided by an employer, so before hitting the road, I needed to have this figured out.
The first place I turned to was the marketplace which, if you have never been there before, can be very overwhelming. There are hundreds of plans to choose from: Gold, Silver, Bronze, different insurance companies, different deductibles, different coverages, etc. This is where we decided that our domicile would be Florida since they were the only state, at that time, which offered a nationwide plan. However, the cost for this plan, for both of us, was $1,400.
Now I knew the most costly expense would be health insurance – that is just the way of the world. But I wasn’t willing to spend that so I looked into the health share options like Liberty Health Share. It looked very appealing. The total cost was only $600 a month for both of us. In comparison to the $1,400, $600 was a steal. I most certainly had concerns – though they looked like an actual insurance company – required deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses, health screenings, lab work – in the real small fine print they couldn’t guarantee payment.
I played devil’s advocate for weeks – was this really any different than a conventional insurance company? Blue Cross Blue Shield has been known to deny claims – they have been known not to cover expenses.
We were both very healthy; after all, we both recently had physicals and received a clean bill of health.
So – instead of doing the “right thing” – I decided, since we are both healthy, to forgo the health plan option and put that money aside so that IF it was ever needed, we could draw from that fund.
Now – I know you’re shaking your head at me right now. I’m doing the same thing as I write this.
The first year was GREAT. Though I had to visit the immediate care for a sinus infection, and have lab work done, since the money was put aside – no worries.
Labor Day, September 2nd changes everything.
Michael woke me up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain. He informed me he had been up for some time trying to get comfortable, to no avail. He had already taken something in hopes the pain would subside – no luck.
The pain was in the middle of his chest and in the middle of his back. So I pull out my phone and do what we all do – turn to Google. I type in his symptoms and wade through the many options- ugh! Needless to say, Google was no help.
I get out of bed and say the only realistic choice is to head to the ER.
I know exactly what is going through Mike’s head at this moment $$$$$$$$$$$, and to be honest with myself, it was going through my head as well.
But, no worries. I have money aside for this exact reason – quick jaunt to the ER – find out it’s something simple – pain meds – go home.
Since the location of Mike’s pain was “unusual,” they needed to run several tests to start ruling out possible issues. They decide on an ultrasound of the gallbladder and notice it appears to be infected. Again the location of his pain did not point to the gallbladder, even after the ultrasound. The doctor wasn’t truly convinced that the gallbladder was the cause of such pain. His first reaction is to admit Mike so they can observe him.
If I could include sound on this blog, it would be that of a cashier register machine – from the olden days – cha ching, cha ching, cha ching.
Let me just say, my husband’s health was and always will be my #1 priority – I would have, and still will, pay until my dying breath any price if it ensures he is okay.
After hanging my head with embarrassment, I inform the doctor that we are uninsured, and not from the area, and would prefer that we take him to his doctors as soon as possible to have him looked over. The doctor understood, wanted to run a few more tests to rule out other possible options and to possibly get a better idea of what was going on with the gallbladder.
After a long 9+ hours, they release us with some strong pain killers and advise us to have him seen by our doctors when we get home.
Well, that didn’t take long. We do believe our drive home caused additional problems for Mike because we were back in the ER by the evening.
Now – I can keep dragging this story out – but let me just say – 2 additional visits to the ER, a 3 day stay in the hospital, 2 visits to the radiologist, and specialists has us seeing bills we have never seen before. We can all do simple math – I most certainly did not budget for this!!!
Remember – we received a clean bill of health!
And in a blink of an eye, everything changed.
I don’t share this story for empathy – I share this story to educate you.
Knowledge IS power!
DO NOT think a clean bill of health means you can forgo health insurance.
DO NOT think $600 or even $1,400 is a lot of money.
DO NOT think this cannot happen to you.