Healthcare Professionals

The Insurance Game: Travel Nurse Insurance From Your Company


September 14, 2022

As healthcare professionals, we know the value of having a good health insurance plan. In a previous blog post, we discussed the debate between an agency offered, company plan versus choosing your own private health insurance. While many argue that private coverage’s pros likely outweigh the cons, there are also many reasons to choose travel nurse insurance from your company.

Travel Nurse Insurance From Your Company

Most healthcare staffing companies these days offer travel nurse insurance. Before deciding on taking advantage of this offering, be sure to analyze the potential advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of Company Travel Nurse Insurance

There are several benefits to choosing your company’s healthcare plan.

Dedicated Agents from Reputable Insurance Companies

Many larger agencies offer insurance through reputable providers such as United, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Cigna. These providers’ deductibles and copays are often reasonable and include free yearly physical exams. As long as you are staying within your network, you shouldn’t have to worry about expensive bills due to unexpected ER visits or other medical concerns.

Tip: Smaller agencies may opt for more local insurance companies, and may not cover your preferred providers. Make sure to research which companies offer the insurance and providers that you prefer.

Familiar & Less Maintenance

Choosing private insurance can take some additional budgeting due to lump-sum payments. A weekly/biweekly withdrawal from your paycheck is easier to manage when choosing an agency-provided plan. If you’re new to traveling, you can expect a plan provided by your agency to be similar to your staffing job’s insurance plan.

Cons of Company Travel Nurse Insurance

While the benefits and simplicity of an agency-offered, company insurance plan seems like an easy choice, there are also several drawbacks you’ll need to keep in mind.

Switching Between Insurance Agencies

Each company you work with will likely have different insurance options, and prices vary. Unless you stick with the same staffing company for your entire duration as a traveler, you can expect to have to choose different insurance providers depending on who you’re working with. This means a new deductible and different coverage than your previous plan may have offered. Without careful planning, you may end up paying significantly more out of pocket versus sticking with one plan.

Gaps between short-term coverage

Short-term coverage is often more expensive than a permanent staff job. Insurance gaps are also almost a given due to most companies don’t cover you in between contracts. This is where the “insurance game” comes into play, as some companies start insurance on the first day of your contract, while others begin on a recurring date sometime throughout the month. Some insurance ends on your last day of assignment, but sometimes you can finish out the month or have two weeks between assignments.

Tip: Ask your recruiter these questions and make sure you understand the specifics before accepting a new position!

Making the Most of Company Insurance

Many travelers value maintaining established relationships with their regular providers. Katie Fitts, a travel nurse and blogger, shared with us some insider tips on how to make the most of your agency-offered health insurance during the timespan in which you are covered under each plan.

Before anything else, make sure that you communicate with your recruiter when your coverage starts and ends. If your coverage begins in the middle or end of the month, it’ll likely end around the 15th or 30th after your assignment is over. This often provides you with enough time to travel home and get your regular doctor’s visits in before coverage expires.

If coverage starts on the first day of your assignment, it will likely end on your last day, unless you sign up for another with the same company contract immediately following your previous contract. If this is the case, be sure to take some time off in the middle of the contract for your yearly checkup, or any other appointments with covered specialists.

Tip: If your insurance ends closer to the end of the month and you want to get better use out of your insurance benefits, ****see if you can extend your contract until the start of the next month. That way, you’ll be additionally covered throughout that whole month, giving you more coverage time in between assignments.

Managing Prescriptions as a Traveler

When it comes to choosing a pharmacy while on the road, try to always order your prescriptions to one that is generic, transferable, and widely available across every major city — like Walgreens, Target, or Walmart. Doing so will make it much easier for you to transfer prescriptions across different locations, and many also reward you with savings.

Make sure to get refills on your prescriptions and other healthcare items such as eye contacts before your coverage ends. Preferably, a larger 90-day supply if available. Doing so will make sure you have any necessary medication or healthcare items during lapses in coverage, and also delay the need for potential appointments while away from home.

Best Health Insurance for Travel Nurses

There are many other elements to consider when deciding on whether to you your own company insurance or get your own, and there’s no right answer. It may come down to trial and error. Choose the route that fits your own lifestyle. If you decide to choose your company’s options for insurance, we hope these tips above will allow the best chance for success in maximizing your healthcare coverage.

A travel nurse by day, and travel blogger by choice. Katie is a chaser of adventure and love! Native to Charleston, SC, and having travelled extensively over the US and internationally, Katie has a passion for people, culture, and nature’s beauty.

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