Upon learning that we have decided to change from Virginia to Florida residents, most people assume we did it for tax reasons. And they would be wrong. We did it for health insurance coverage.
Back in September, Dave started calling Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, our health insurance carrier in Virginia to understand what options we had for 2015. We knew that our insurance policy which gave us coverage throughout the US (using a PPO plan) was going to end in 2014. Last year, Anthem representatives had offered some encouragement that by the time we were enrolling for 2015, there would be similar offerings in the exchange. (For 2014, Anthem only offered HMO's, which restricted you to in-state doctors.) With a lot of persistance, Dave made his way up the chain at Anthem to finally talk to someone in a position with some knowledge of the 2015 options. By late October, we thought we were set. Anthem was offering a plan with national coverage and we were eligible to sign up.
So imagine our surprise when we called back during open enrollment to learn that the plan described in the earlier call was not available where we lived in southern Virginia (although it was offered in Northern Virginia, where Congress lives). Despite endless attempts to follow-up with the employee who had given us reassurance in October, Dave never heard back. We had to either live with only emergency room coverage outside Virginia or look elsewhere. We knew from other cruisers that Florida had the coverage we needed. So, we contacted a broker in Florida and found that a policy existed that would work for us. To get it, we would need to establish residency in Florida.
That meant a Florida mailing address.
You don't have to be cruising for long before you start meeting a lot of people who have the same street address in Green Cove Springs. In conversations, you learn about St. Brendan's Isle mail forwarding service. This is how a number of people who cruise by boat or RV establish a permanent address. So, we signed up for their service and began changing addresses to have mail sent there. We wanted our change to start officially on January 1st, but to get driver's license, voter registration cards, etc., we would need documents with a Florida mailing address on them. The folks at St. Brendan's Isle have been very helpful in helping us navigate the change, including recommending we complete a Declaration of Domicile form to make the change of address effective January 1st, even though it would take us longer to get everything moved.
Since we spend more time in Florida than any other state, the change is reasonable. And health insurance isn't something we felt we could take chances with, so we are moving to the sunshine state. Although unless you looked at our mailing address, you would never know we had done anything at all. Such is the life of a wanderer.
It was going to be a rare gathering. All of Cathy's sisters and their families plus Bonnie's and Adam's families were gathering in Winston-Salem for Christmas. With everyone together there would be 23, plus 2 on the way. We never actually got a picture of all 23, but it was a great time to see the larger family and enjoy the interactions between generations, between all the kids, and with kids and grandkids. Wow!. It was a lot of work for the NC hosts, but the joy of time together was certainly something we'll remember throughout the year.
By New Year's Eve, we were back in Florida, bringing in the New Year with Dave's sister's family. We even managed to stay up till midnight. (That's the real thing, not cruiser's midnight (aka 9pm).