As a nurse, I’m sure you know how important it is to have health insurance. But, you may be wondering how health insurance works if you decide to become a travel nurse. While traveling sounds awesome, you really need to do your research before signing up. Travel nursing is a major life adjustment and there are many factors that you should consider. In this blog, we’ll review your options when it comes to health insurance for travel nurses!
Health Insurance for Travel Nurses | An Overview
Most travel nursing agencies provide the option of affordable health insurance for travel nurses. But in most cases, this coverage only lasts for the duration of your assignments. This means that you would not have health insurance while you’re in between jobs. It’s very important that you work with your recruiter to learn about the details of your agency’s healthcare plan before signing the dotted line. Knowing the exact timeframe for when you will have insurance is crucial for all travel nurses who are interesting in getting coverage through their agency. If you’re worried about having gaps in coverage, let me put your mind at ease. Another option you could look into is private insurance. Below, we’ll explore the pros and cons of agency and private health insurance for travel nurses.
Agency Insurance vs. Private Insurance
As stated above, there are several arguments both for and against these insurance options. Let’s begin with the option of getting health insurance through your travel nursing agency, which is very popular among new travel nurses.
Agency Health Insurance for Travel Nurses
There are many reasons why travel nurses choose to get insured through their agency. Let’s start with a really important one: the cost. Most agencies offer plans that are much cheaper than other options you will find. In fact, many of them will cover a large part of your insurance just to get you to sign on with them. The quality of agency insurance is also an incentive for travel nurses. Insurance companies know that agencies have plenty of nurses who need coverage, so they are willing to make better offers to these companies. In turn, you will benefit from these offers if you are insured by your agency. Another perk of getting health insurance through an agency is how easy it is. An agency’s job is to make your life as a travel nurse easier, so they will handle most of the stressful aspects of health insurance.
The main issue that travel nurses have with agency insurance is the lack of coverage between assignments. It is also a possibility that your agency’s plan could be delayed. If this happens, you may not get insurance until after your assignment has already started. This is an unfortunate reality for travel nurses who use multiple agencies to find work. It’s true that sticking with one agency ensures more consistent coverage. But, it could also hurt your chances of getting better pay once you start traveling. However, some nurses think that it’s too risky to go without insurance even for a short period of time. Make sure you discuss your decision with your recruiter so that you choose the option that best fits your needs. It would also be helpful to research how to handle gaps in your health insurance if you do decide to use your agency’s plan.
Private Health Insurance for Travel Nurses
To put it simply, private health insurance offers more flexibility to travel nurses. By getting your own insurance, you will avoid gaps in your coverage. This is the ideal choice for nurses that worry about all of life’s “what ifs” and would prefer to have uninterrupted coverage. These plans also allow you to switch agencies at will, which could help you earn more money in the long run. Some agencies even offer financial incentives for nurses to find their own insurance options. Therefore you’ll get some compensation for taking this responsibility off of their hands. So, opting for private insurance gives you more autonomy over your choices as a travel nurse. And, if you happen to sprain your wrist while hiking the Rocky Mountains between assignments, you can take solace in knowing that you’re still insured!
The cons of private health insurance for travel nurses closely mirror the agency option’s pros. Enjoying the flexibility of private insurance will require more effort and out-of-pocket expenses on your part. So, if you are willing to pay a little more and work a little harder to find the best option, then you should definitely pursue private health insurance. Remember that you can ask your recruiter for suggestions based on what they’ve heard from other travel nurses they’ve worked with!
How do you handle health insurance as an experienced travel nurse? Do you have any advice for new travel nurses? Share your experiences with us in the comments below!