HOW DOES HEALTH INSURANCE WORK FOR TRAVEL NURSES?
Health insurance can be a tricky subject for travel nurses as they are always navigating new jobs. Since these healthcare professionals are constantly concerned with the health of their patients, it is no surprise that they also need to worry about their own medical coverage. At OneStaff Medical, we know that this can be one of the topics that makes travel nurses anxious or frustrated, so we are here to provide a little insight.
Health Insurance Options for Travel Nurses
Travel nurses are fortunate to have a couple of different insurance options. While one type of coverage may work better for one nurse, another may find that a different option best suits his or her needs.
Many travel nursing agencies will have health care coverage available for travelers. This coverage could include medical, dental, and vision benefits. Often, agency insurance is going to be a better option for travelers, because the premiums are the same, but the agency can offer lower deductible plans. If you need to include other family members on your plan, then you might need to do some research to determine which option is best for you.
When adding family members to a policy, it can often be costly, and policies may vary significantly between agencies. Having a policy through an agency can also cause issues if you routinely use different agencies to find placements or take off for extended periods between assignments.
Agency coverage usually starts and ends on the first and last day of an assignment through the agency, which means that nurses might lose coverage between jobs—especially if a new placement isn’t found through the same agency.
Private Insurance Coverage
To prevent a lapse in coverage, some travel nurses choose to purchase their own personal health insurance policies. While there are likely many reasons that travelers choose to carry their own health insurance policies, here are a few of the most common:
- Some travel nurses change agencies often, which can lead to lapses in coverage. Since each company has its own rules for waiting periods and how long between assignments you can take off, it can be hard to keep up with insurance coverage. To avoid this issue altogether, nurses can purchase their own plan, which will stay active no matter where they are employed and which agency they work with.
- The nurse has special healthcare needs. If there are medical conditions or family situations that make it easier for a nurse to purchase their own private insurance, they might choose that route.
- Private insurance gives travel nurses consistency. While the job may require a lot of frequent changes, private insurance can offer a constant that travel nurses don’t have to think or worry about.
- Not all agencies offer insurance benefits, and even when they do, not all coverage is equal. It can be complicated to have to navigate new policies and find new healthcare providers constantly.
Medical Cost Sharing Programs
Medical cost sharing programs are another option for travel nurses. Health sharing programs aren’t health insurance plans, but instead offer an affordable way to plan for any unforeseen medical expenses. Even though medical cost sharing programs aren’t insurance, they are exempt from the ACA mandate requirements, so you won’t be strapped with a penalty for not having health insurance.
Also called medical cost sharing ministries, these programs are basically groups of like-minded people that come together to help one another pay for medical expenses. With this type of medical “coverage,” there are no network requirements, which allows you to choose any medical professional you would like to see.
When you enroll in one of these programs, you receive a membership card that you will present instead of an insurance card when you visit the doctor. Generally, almost every doctor will accept patients with this form of coverage. However, if you end up seeing a doctor that doesn’t, you can pay out of pocket and get reimbursed later.
If you are a travel nurse considering insurance coverage options, you can contact our team today to learn more about our insurance options.
Obtaining Health Insurance as a Travel Nurse
When working with an agency, there are a variety of different benefits, and one of them might be health insurance coverage. If you are going to get health insurance through your agency, then a representative will likely present you with your options for coverage. You can also ask questions about how much of the insurance is paid by the company, how long the waiting period is for the policy, and what is and is not covered. This would also be the perfect time to ask about adding a spouse or dependent on the policy.
As you are considering agency insurance coverage, you will also want to ask how long you can take off between assignments and not lose your coverage because you might decide to take a few weeks off between assignments from time to time.
To get private insurance, you will want to call and quotes from any providers that you are interested in potentially using. This gives you the opportunity to compare your options to determine the best plan for you and your family.
If you choose private insurance, be sure to check with your agency to see if they offer reimbursement of any kind if you purchase your own health insurance, because many agencies do. If this is the case, you might be able to off-set the cost of private insurance or even pay less for insurance than you would by going with an agency insurance plan.
Getting Health Insurance with OneStaff Medical
At OneStaff, we are proud to offer our travelers health insurance. In fact, health insurance is just one of our many benefits. Our insurance plan will be effective on the first day of the month following the nurse’s start date, and the plan extends through the entire month in which a nurse’s last day occurs. We offer multiple options for PPO plans, which allows each traveler to choose the coverage that best suits their needs.
Our benefits package includes medical, dental, vision, short- and long-term disability, and AD&D insurances. With two different medical benefits packages, our nurses can choose the plan that works best for their situation. In addition to the two medical plans, there are two dental and vision options. We even offer pet insurance, and vacation savings plans.
OneStaff Medical also offers a few unique types of coverage as well. If you are in need of critical illness, accident, identity theft, and pet insurance coverage, those are all available, too.
To speak to a recruiter with OneStaff Medical, please give us a call today at 877-783-1483. Our recruiters can help you find your next (or first!) travel nursing assignment.