Obamacare: Choose Your State

If you’re a full-time RV’er there’s probably more than one state eager to tax your income and assets.  This presents an opportunity to choose your tax home, and your Affordable Care Act home.  I’ve checked the rules on what determines your ACA home, and the words are very similar to those that state taxing agencies use to determine your tax home.


The test is one of those “preponderance of the evidence” situations.  Owning one home and living in it is often enough to determine your tax home by itself.  Owning one and renting it to others is not.  Living in an RV and rolling through several states for half a year muddies the water.   Voter registration is a consideration, as is driver’s license and vehicle registration.  If you work for most of the year in one or more other states, you will pay withholding and be required to file there (for at least that part of your income) to get any of it back.  I think a case can be made for each of those states as your ACA home.


Your Obamacare state will probably be your primary tax home, which means you must coordinate your planning for state taxes with health insurance options.  If your tax state has an income tax, you’ll need to file two state returns if you Workkamp in a different state.  Some income tax states are generous to retirees: Kentucky exempts the first $41,000 of retirement income (pensions, SS, IRA withdrawals) for filers of joint returns making it a No Tax to Pay state for most.


Our rig is registered in SD to match our driver’s licenses.  Our rented-out house is in NC where we still vote absentee, and Kat wants to work in Campbellsville, KY three or four months each year.  Despite offering the best array of insurance plans, we may rule out NC due to its high tax rate and lack of incentives for retirees.  SD has only a few insurance options, and I’ve not yet determined which are multi-state.  Kentucky has more plan choices, but so far there’s not enough information to choose.


For now, you should learn whether the penury of retirement financing qualifies you for a subsidy.  (Assets don’t matter: it’s all about income.)  Google “Kaiser Subsidy Calculator” and fill in the 8 or 9 blanks.  Then check out your plan choices by state on www.healthcare.gov by clicking “Want to Learn More?’s ” START HERE button.  Answer the five easy questions and check out your degree of help.  Focus on Silver plans, because they’re the only ones that if qualified for a tax subsidy often also result in lower deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance.

Don’t try to sign up for an ACA account just yet.  You will find it frustrating, and your odds of success are slim.  Give their IT contractors a couple more weeks to get it fully functional.  We have until December 15 to sign up for coverage that’s effective January 1, 2014.

11 thoughts on “Obamacare: Choose Your State

  1. I’m with you on creating a healthcare.gov account. I’ve tried twice and I don’t think either account got created. Plan to try again in mid-November.

    Regarding multi-state plans, will this ultimately mean that with the right multi-state plan, I’ll potentially be “in-network” in each state? Else, what is the big deal and why would I care?


    1. As I understand it the first year multi-state plans are required to have providers in something like 30 states. That goes up to 50 over four years, in steps. So yes, you should have in network providers everywhere you go by 2018. And even if they postpone the deadline for that, you should care because it’s going to be better coverage than you are likely to buy as an individual today, and assuming some subsidy, much less expensive, and it will REDUCE our deficit.

      The program is projected by the CBO to cut our Federal deficit by some huge amount, maybe a trillion bucks over ten years. The GOP really wants to repeal it, but they also say they hate debt and deficits, G W Bush notwithstanding. So there must be another reason to try to repeal a law that’s going to save the nation money. I suspect they fear it is likely to succeed, to be popular, and like SS and Medicare, is an invention of Democrats.

      I don’t think one’s political party matters here. Obamacare is really good for under 65 full timers, and since it’s the law of the land, one might as well enjoy its benefits.


  2. Excellent post. I’m wondering how you determine if an insurance plan is multi-state. Our domicile is Florida, and we have Aetna and FloridaBlue as choices. I have yet to see anything in any of the plan literature indicating whether these plans are valid outside the state of domicile. Thank you for any clarification you can provide!


    1. I think that before anyone buys any plan she should get a long look at a list of participating docs, clinics, and hospitals. We could do that years before the ACA became effective. That’s even more important if you choose an HMO which comes with a gatekeeper; a multistate HMO should have gatekeeper family practice docs in every state you plan to visit in the coming year. A multistate PPO should have a network in or at least close by the states you plan to see in 2014.

      Presumably the ACA website will soon offer that degree of detail for each plan. Whether that will happen in time to make an intelligent choice may be another question. If not, you and I are going to have to work harder and contact ACA Navigators over the phone, and then probably call a sales agent for the plans in question.

      Sorry I don’t have anything better, but for now it’s Glitch City online. Good luck and thanks for reading.



      1. Thanks, Jackson. I did hear back from Florida Blue just now, and they stated that none of their ACA plans is a multi-state plan for 2014. So I’m researching to see if Aetna offers one in Florida. If not, we’ll have to pass on ACA and continue with our current insurance carrier until Florida does offer a multi-state plan.


      2. Do you work-kamp in another state? You might qualify there for a multi-state plan while keeping Florida as your tax residence.



      3. The plans I’ve spoken with insist that emergencies are insured no matter where you are, and that out of network co-pays and deductibles would apply. You will want that in writing, but would still be vulnerable to their definition of ’emergency’.

        Thanks for the link to the multi-map!



      4. Hi Jackson, I just received this information from FloridaBlue that makes me feel much better. Cutting and pasting straight from their email:

        “BlueOptions plans include benefits under the BlueCard program, which provides members with access to doctors and hospitals across the United States. Members can receive benefits under their Florida Blue plan based on the rates negotiated with providers in the out of state area they receive care by that local Blue Plan. Florida Blue will not be offering multi-state plans in 2014. When they are offered, they will utilize the existing BlueCard program to provide out-of-state benefits. ”

        To me this means that I can still receive benefits in other states for emergency or routine care, but unlike in a multi-state plan, it will not be the same negotiated rate in every state. Multi-state plans make that rate uniform across all states. I can live with that.


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