Ask a Travel Nurse Question:
It looks like most Travel Nursing companies’ insurance starts on day 1 of an assignment, so what do I do for health insurance between Travel Nursing assignments? Also, can you get health insurance for spouse, too? Thank you.
Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:
Many travel nursing companies offer insurance coverage for spouses or family. I covered my daughter on my last travel assignment with travel company provided insurance.
You also need to be careful to investigate a company’s insurance plan because NOT all of them start day one (some start at the beginning of the next month or after a certain number of days on assignment). You also need to investigate when the insurance ends. Coverage that ends at the end of the month in which your assignment ends, will give you more of an opportunity to have continuous coverage (even if starting your next assignment with another company). Some insurance ends the day your contract ends. Also, some companies will keep you covered for up to two weeks between assignments as long as you have already signed a new contract with them that begins within two weeks or less. Again, just make sure you are clear on when your company’s coverage starts and ends, and if there is any brief grace period in between assignments.
In between assignments, COBRA coverage is available for most insurance plans. However, I’ve found that this coverage is not always offered until at least a few weeks after your coverage has lapsed. I have never tried this (and any readers who have, please chime in with your experience), but I believe the last time I read a COBRA plan, it would have covered me after my insurance lapsed if I had a medical emergency and then elected the COBRA coverage. However, I would be required to pay the premiums starting the day my coverage had lapsed.
The way I interpreted this was that if I didn’t use the coverage, and was already on another assignment with insurance, great. But, if I did have a medical emergency (or any service that I wanted covered under COBRA), I could go back and pay the premiums and still be covered (as long as I was not past the date that I needed to declare my intent to have COBRA coverage).
Again, anyone who has tested this theory, or is more informed on COBRA coverages, please chime in.
If you are worried about too many possible lapses in coverage, I believe the only other way to go is a plan through the Affordable Care Act. I was recently told that “private insurance” is a thing of the past, but I have not personally applied for insurance outside my travel companies in many years. So I am not current on the mandates of that world.
I hope this helps.