Many travel nurses struggle with finding the right health insurance. Due to their jobs’ nature, choosing a travel plan, nurses can be tricky since they spend a lot of time on the road and often have multiple health insurance options.
Although some jobs offer health insurance plans, these plans are not always the best for their needs. When available, these plans can be lacking in nurses’ coverage and are sometimes too expensive.
The best type of insurance plan covers the nurses, no matter what state their next job assignment is at. A nationwide PPO network with a large name brand such as a United Health Care PPO Network or a Cigna PPO Network is preferred for travel nurses.
However, there are a few options when it comes to health insurance for travel nurses. As travel nurses, knowing what you want and what is available will help narrow down your choices. Here are some things to consider when choosing health insurance as a travel nurse.
What are the insurance options for traveling nurses?
When it comes to health insurance for travel nurses, you have to decide if you want to stick with the agency provided plan, which is one of the main options.
If you decide that you would like something else, you can take a look at the following health insurance options:
Agency Provided Health insurance
Travel nurse agencies like RN Network in Boca Raton, Florida offer health insurance, eliminating the need for nurses to find their insurance. Sticking with the provided plan is often an easy fix, and while this might seem appealing, it does not come without some disadvantages.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of agency provided health insurance.
- Going with an agency health insurance plan saves you the stress of finding a healthcare plan. Most agencies usually have a standard coverage and default provider, so you do not have to struggle with choices.
- An agency plan is more affordable than private health insurance because most recruitment companies pay for a portion of your insurance.
- Some agency plans offer a wholesome coverage that includes vision and dental benefits, so you might not need to spend extra money on these coverages.
- At times, an agency insurance plan is only valid while you are on the job, thus leaving you without coverage when you are not on assignment
- If you have to move to another agency, you need to get a new insurance plan as most of these plans do not cover you working under a different agency
- You can lose your insurance plan if your job at the agency gets terminated, and finding a new plan can be quite stressful
- When you need to switch between agencies, your deductibles will be reset, and depending on how many times you switch; this might happen many times a year
- Sticking with just one agency to prevent switching insurance plans can make you miss out on contracts and other business deals as some hospitals request nurses from specific agencies
Private health insurance
Private health insurance is an independent, more flexible plan than agency insurance. It makes up for the gaps that are found in the healthcare plan provided by the agency. With this individual travel, nurses are responsible for their insurance. Some of the pros and cons involved include:
- Private insurance covers you all year round without any gaps, unlike agency insurance, giving you peace of mind
- You have the freedom to travel to wherever you need to for a job, as you do not need to worry about how your benefits are affected by taking up new jobs
- Some agencies offer you extra pay if you come with your insurance instead of having to use theirs – this payment can come in the form of an insurance allowance
- Private insurance covers you across several agencies despite what agencies assignment you are working on; this means you can always sign up for work with the assurance that your health is insured
- With private insurance, you have the freedom to choose a plan that suits your medical needs, especially if you have a condition as the insurance plan provided by most companies does not offer full coverage and is not as reliable as a private insurance
- A private plan allows you have more control over your benefits, how much you pay for your monthly premium, and other like copays or deductibles
- Private insurance is generally more expensive to find than agency provided insurance because you have to pay for the entire insurance individually
- Some insurance companies do not offer coverage in all states, which defeats the essence of travel nurse health insurance; however, a nationwide PPO network with a large name brand such as a United HealthCare PPO Network or a Cigna PPO Network offers coverage in all states
Short term health insurance
One other insurance option for traveling nurses is a short term insurance plan. These plans are cheaper than individual insurance but do not have as many comprehensive benefits.
Short term health insurance is usually a preferred option for nurses who are;
- In the process of switching agencies
- Cannot afford their health insurance premiums
However, you must remember that these plans are not as reliable as the average individual plan and may deny you coverage based on pre-existing conditions. They may also not cover certain healthcare services, such as dental care.
What then is the best option?
With the up tick of quality nurses needed around the country during the coronavirus pandemic being able to not worry about your health insurance is a giant weight off of any travel nurses plate. We know how annoying it gets dealing with constantly having to change insurance plans when your contract runs out and your moving from state to state so everyone can agree that a nationwide PPO network with a large name brand such as a United Health Care PPO Network or a Cigna PPO Network is the best option, it is ultimately an individual decision. But being on one of these nationwide PPO networks allows all travel nurses to not have to worry about if they will be covered in what ever city or state they take their next contract.
Here are some tips that can help you choose.
- Find out how much agency insurance will cost you and compare it to the private insurance option that you have
- You can ask your recruiter if the company will pay you extra if you come with your insurance plan; if this is the case, you can channel the money towards paying your private insurance
- Some agencies offer to keep your insurance running even after you have completed a contract, this is great at filling in gaps, and any extra charges are deducted from your next paycheck, so find out if this is an option for your agency
- If you travel frequently, a private plan might automatically be a better option for you; the best thing to do is to estimate how much insurance will cost you every year and plan towards that budget
- Determine how much you would like your insurance to cover (such as vision and dental) and work with the plan that offers the most coverage
- If you have any pre-existing conditions, you should ensure that whatever plan you sign up for makes adequate health care provisions for your condition
- For nurses who do not work all year round, you can calculate how much private insurance will cost for the number of months you will be at work compared to agency insurance and determine if it is a better option for you
- Ask your agency if you can combine a private insurance plan with the plan offered by the agency; by doing this, you can save money as you will be able to opt for a cheaper option due to the coverage provided by the agency plan
Frontline workers like Nurses will always be Essential
Each individual has different insurance requirements and needs. Picking the right plan requires careful thought and consideration.
Having a functional health insurance plan while traveling is very vital because you might require unexpected medical assistance. The best option for travel nurses is to provide excellent coverage at reasonable costs without any gaps.
If your agency already offers such a plan, you should stick with their plan and save yourself some money. However, if they do not, you might want to find a private insurance plan that ultimately provides excellent coverage.