By August 1, 2012 5 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: Should I take the company’s insurance, or buy my own?


insurance travel nurseAsk a Travel Nurse Question:

I have emailed you before and I appreciate the information received. I am really hoping to do travel nursing in November and I am terrified.

There are so many companies and so many different reviews on each company, that it is hard to know good from bad. Anyway, the question I have for you is concerning insurance. I have a son who already has a medical history at 4 and I want to make sure I have coverage for him in the future. Is it better to use the coverage per assignment or pay the extra money per month and purchase my own insurance to maintain a steady coverage? If it’s better to get outside insurance, is there any insurance you would recommend?

Thanks again for your help and I hope to here from you soon.

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

I can only give you an opinion on what I might do in your situation, but whatever you choose, I would research each option thoroughly.

I have always used the travel company’s insurance, but I have minimal medical expense and have never had a child about whom I have to worry. Taking the travel company’s insurance would probably be cheaper (even with the added expense of a family plan), but might lead to gaps in coverage if you were not taking back to back assignments. In choosing a travel company, have them send you an info packed on their insurance coverage BEFORE you consider traveling with them. Since this is such an important consideration, you want to be well informed about a company’s coverage before traveling with them. If you prefer to use private insurance, obviously, this is not a factor.

If I were in your situation, because of the inability to assure continuous coverage, I would probably opt for carrying private insurance.

When you do carry your own private insurance, you should see an increase in your hourly rate from your travel company. I would first get a rate quote on a travel assignment without mentioning the private insurance, then once you have the specifics figured out (like how much you would receive for housing stipend or any travel money), ask what the numbers would look like without the insurance.

I’m sorry that I don’t have any resources to give you as far as obtaining private insurance. If you know any travelers working at your hospital, ask them what they do for insurance. You can also post the question regarding insurance to the travel nursing forums on and the Delphi forum for traveling professionals (go to, look for the box on the right that says “Explore existing forums”, type in “travel nursing” and the top result is a group called Travel Nurses and Therapists with over half a million members). Pan Travelers is also another good site with a forum, as well as (which is a Facebook type community for travelers).

I cannot recall what information I provided last time, but if you need some recommendations on travel companies, shoot me an email at and I will give you the names of the people I use at the companies I trust. There are a few companies that I recommend that I am on file with, but have not yet traveled with that company. However, in these instances, I found recruiters that have a good amount of experience and are good at working with nurses just starting out in travel (which means they are patient and do a good job of answering the many questions new travelers might have).

I’m sorry I could not provide more direct information on private insurance, but I hope this helps with your decision


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About the Author:

Hello everyone. I’m a travel nurse originally from Ohio who graduated in 1993 from Mount Carmel School of Nursing in Columbus. I completed a critical care fellowship at Riverside Methodist Hospital in 1994 and started traveling in that specialty a year later. My first travel assignment was in Maui and since that time I have completed close to 40 different contracts in various states with multiple travel companies. I am the author of Travel Nurse’s Bible (A Guide to Everything on Travel Nursing), in addition to my writings here and in the pages of Travel Nursing publications such as Healthcare Traveler Magazine and American Nurse Today. I am presently on assignment in Phoenix, AZ and travel anywhere from six to eleven months of the year.

5 Comments on "Ask a Travel Nurse: Should I take the company’s insurance, or buy my own?"

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  1. Jane Morai says:

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Great Q & A. It isn’t always easy to decide on what the best options for health insurance are so this is very helpful.

  2. Where can we find your Travel Nurse Bible?? I have tried and they do not know when it might be available.
    sharon joiner-greer

  3. David says:

    Hey Sharon. I am actually in the process of revising the book to make it as current as possible and will probably make it available somehow on my website. However, that is going to take some doing as life is a bit hectic right now and I’m ending work at one place and trying to figure out my next travel assignment.

    I know that none of this really helps too much, but if you’d like to give me some background about yourself and let me know where your knowledge base is in regard to travel nursing, I can help you fill in any gaps and answer any questions you have along the way.

    Additionally, when you are ready to start looking at companies, if you need some direction there, I have a group of recruiters I use at the companies I trust. When I refer people to travel companies, I prefer having a direct contact to a recruiter that I know will do a great job for the nurses I refer. After all, you can be with the best company on the planet, but how good and experience do you think you will have if they pair you with a recruiter who is just months out of training?

    I ALWAYS advise nurses to be on file with at least two or three companies. I have been traveling over a decade and a half and I am still on file with about six or seven companies. Being with several companies is especially important when just starting out.

    If you are ready to start looking, or just have some specific questions I can answer about travel, please feel free to email me at

    Sorry about the book not being available, but rather than just order new copies, I wanted to be sure people had the most up to date info.


  4. Andrew B says:

    If you do not take insurance with the company, should they be paying you more money?

  5. Alisa Jeffries says:

    Aureus Medical and Medical Solutions said they do NOT increase pay if you refuse their health insurance. Two said yes, Talemed and Flexcare. Talemed said pay increases by $2/hour. Flexcare said you get a $50/week stipend. Each company is a little bit different. I am currently compiling a spreadsheet detailing many companies answers to main questions pertaining to Pay and Benefits. Be careful to ask when benefits begin as well.

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