The start of our winter in Texas - Jan 2014
Jan 15, 2014
|We are both well and healthy. The summer was kept busy exploring Wyoming and Colorado. By October, we were in Albuquerque, NM for the famed ABQ Balloon Fiesta. What a wonderful experience. We spent some time in Santa Fe and a few other towns on our way to Austin, TX.
The month of November was spent visiting JC's daughters, Angela & Sarah and husband, Cody. Along with grand daughter, Alexia, who is now 3 yrs. old. And, new grand daughter, Ava, 3 months old. Such a nice visit. We are babes in the woods with this grand parenting thing.
The first of December we went on a real vacation. I know folks don't understand that we really are not on a perpetual vacation. We took a cruise to the Caribbean. What a great time!. Every island had it's charm. I am still combing through pictures to post a separate blog about each port of call. We both really enjoyed Barbados and hope to return with family.
JC's sister, Teresa, drove to San Antonio to spend Christmas and New Years with us. What a kick. I love my sister in law. She also got the opportunity to meet her nieces and grand nieces. San Antonio was awesome at Christmas but cold. But it is cold everywhere.
The remaining winter months, January thru March, are plotted out for the Rio Grande Valley. We plan to move about once a week with flexibility. This is another bucket list item. We started in Willis, TX at a Thousand Trails park then headed for the Bolivar Peninsula on the Gulf of Mexico. Specifically, Crystal Beach, which is about 10 miles north east of Galveston. This strip of sand is a summer time destination. Very quiet this time of year. We shortened our stay and moved to Quintana Beach County Park near Freeport. The city of Quintana is barely a postage stamp with a wonderful County Park right on the beach. Really enjoyed our couple of days here.
Which brings us to today. We were scheduled to stay at Quintana beach for 10 days, but our medical insurance needs has brought us to a major life change. As of yesterday, we are now Texan's!
Our legal domicile for the past 6+ years has been South Dakota. The ACA (Affordable Care Act) enticed us to explore our health insurance options. We found that we are eligible for a substantial subsidy. We went from paying $1500 a month on premiums to just $113.44. So we signed up, made our first premium payment and they cashed the check. So we cancelled our previous policies (Dakota Care for JC and Kaiser for me). A couple weeks later we get a letter in the mail from the new insurance company (Sanford Health) requesting proof that we reside in the state at least *NINE* months of the year. Well, that's not going to work.
So JC called them and reminded them that he had asked about out-of-state coverage and they said that, yes, that was true. We could obtain coverage while traveling, but that we needed to be gone no more than 3 months a year. What to do? So we shopped around for another company in South Dakota and found out that the best we could do was 6 months residency instead of 9. No way, that will NOT do.
JC started googling around, found some discussion forums about the issue, and discovered that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas did not have residency restrictions. And, several full-timers have gone with them.
Since we are in Texas this winter anyway, we decided that it was meant to be. So, we abandoned our current route along the Texas Gulf Coast (for now anyway) and headed for Livingston TX (home to the Escapee Club, of which we are members).
Yesterday, we obtained our new address from the Escapee Mail Forwarding Service and registered all our vehicles. Next we need to get our Texas drivers licenses. But, there's a catch. Because our rig is so heavy (over the 26001 lbs limit) we need a special big-rig license. It is called a non-commercial class B. So, instead of just turning in our old SD license for a new TX license, we have to take a written AND a driving test, *with* the rig! This should be interesting.
In the meantime, JC succeeded in signing us up with BCBS of Texas at $165 a month. Not quite as good as the SD rate, but still a whole lot better than the $1500 we had been paying. Thank you Obamacare! 8^) The plan offers us nationwide coverage and with a little higher deductible ($6000 each person). This will protect our nest egg if we have any major health issues. FYI, JC is still clean from his tonsil cancer. That is approaching 2 1/2 years clean!
So we will stay here in Livingston to take our written test. Then try and get an appointment for a driving test. The DMV mentioned something about February. We can take the driving test anywhere in Texas. So we may move on to our RGV schedule and look for an alternate location. Maybe Brownsville.
So that is the news to date. I am still writing blogs, just behind as usual.