A new avenue to affordable health insurance for truckers

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Updated Mar 7, 2024

Indiana-headquartered owner-operator Dan Koors, a father of five, invokes a big number at the top of the podcast this week -- 27%, the approximate percentage of truck drivers running without health insurance. That's inclusive of company drivers, many with ready access to carrier benefits packages.

Among owner-operators, the percentage is certainly higher than 27%. Overdrive’s most recent estimate with polling of the owner-operator audience early this year put the number at around 40%.

This week on the Overdrive Radio podcast, we dive into a new resource for health insurance that is something of a new variation on an old theme. Like groups such as the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the National Association of Independent Truckers, both of whom have health-insurance resources for members of varying types, the CDL Drivers Unlimited group has now dipped a toe or sunk a whole foot into the arena with a new partnership with the Benefits Management Team, or BMT.

BMT's a health insurance consultant and broker who can work with a potential insured in any state, with close knowledge of what’s available in the health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act and elsewhere, how the ACA's premium subsidies work for individuals, and much more. The company does quite a lot to really vet health-care bills, too, to be an advocate for patients through its MediShield service, examining itemized invoices for unnecessary charges in further efforts to save on costs.

Howes logoOverdrive Radio's sponsor is Howes, longtime provider of fuel treatments like its Howes Diesel Treat anti-gel and Lifeline rescue treatment to get you through the coldest temps, likewise its all-weather Diesel Defender, among other products.And it’s the long rising cost of health care, of course, that is a primary reason for increasing numbers of those opting out of the health insurance system entirely, and a critical reason among small-business owner-operators. Yet owner-operator Dan Koors is not one of them. He views the necessity of insurance as a business decision, ultimately, and crucial to protect the business from catastrophe.

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With a family of seven to insure, how’s he done it? In this podcast we hear that story, and another one: How the BMT company and his CDL Drivers Unlimited membership led Koors to something of a strange realization. He’s now paying a little more in taxes than he might otherwise as a result, but he’s netting nearly $7,000 with a dramatic reduction in insurance premiums. Take a listen: 

Also in the podcast:
CDLDU has made other strides, too, with what they’re calling the Driver Advocacy Network, aimed to, as Koors sees it, boost the efforts of men and women behind the wheel to make headway influencing local, state and national policy and law to the benefit of truckers. "You have to reignite that flame, that passion and that drive," Koors said, "and that ability to say, 'you know what, I'm tired of being kicked down the road ... I'm fighting back.' You've got to get that lion to come back alive in the company driver, the owner-operator and the small business trucker" as an advocate on policy state to state, locale to locale.   

We’ll also hear from CDL Drivers Unlimited founding members Lee and Lisa Schmitt, headquartered in Wisconsin, about the DAN structure. The group's set to build membership around the nation with an aim of having DAN reps and leaders in every state and Congressional district to support and engage on issues local and national. Current advocacy efforts, the Schmitts noted, center around hopefully halting FMCSA's move toward mandating speed limiter use, likewise NHTSA/FMCSA work on mandating Automatic Emergency Braking systems. Another priority issue, at the same time, is encouragement of FMCSA to move forward with a rule to increase brokered freight transaction transparency.

Hear also in the podcast about some of the group's plans for the Mid-America Trucking Show. You can find CDLDU there in their booth in the North Wing Lobby March 21-23.  

Other health-related resources from past coverage:
**The high business risk of failing health.
**Understanding Medicare for those approaching 65. 
**Owner-operator health-insurance gains in COVID-relief law. 
**Health-share plans gaining ground as insurance alternative. 

[Related: Ways to avoid trouble at the scale house, with Roadcheck on the horizon]

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