Healthcare insurance is a hot topic in the news these days. Obamacare is in full swing and the deadline has come and gone to sign up for insurance without penalty. The question remains – is it cheaper to find insurance yourself or go with company provided plans? I recently did some research comparing both options and which option makes more sense for you and your family. Here’s what I came up with.
Travel nursing companies offer pretty good nationwide healthcare coverage for employees and family, but at a higher premium. The coverage usually starts on day one of your assignment and will continue without interruption as long as you continue to work with that company and are on assignment. If you take time off in between your assignments, your company may require you to “catch up” your premium payments from your first paycheck on your next assignment. Companies are also required to offer COBRA insurance. If you will be off work for an extended period of time you can opt-in to COBRA, but it is quite costly and you will be required to pay the premium out of pocket.
Many travelers find it beneficial to find a private nationwide health insurance plan to eliminate the hassle of switching insurance companies with every contract. Private plans also give you more flexibility in working with many different travel companies. You will never have a gap in coverage between assignments. If you want to take time off, there are no strings attached and no high COBRA premiums to pay. Private plans will also usually have lower premiums if you will have a dependent on your plan.
If you choose a private insurance plan, many travel nurse companies will reimburse you for a portion or the entire amount of your premium. You will be required to submit proof of payments in order to qualify for this benefit.
Another thing to consider is that companies usually factor if you take insurance or not into your pay package. Money from insurance plans may take away from your hourly pay, travel reimbursements, or another area of your pay package.
During my research on health insurance I was able to find and compare insurance benefits from a few travel nursing companies. I also did some comparisons with Esurance private insurance companies. Below are tables of both results. These are intended to only provide general comparisons. These figures will vary with each individual.
Based on my research, I believe it’s safe to say company provided insurance is almost always better for individuals. The premiums are about the same or slightly less than private insurance but the coverage and deductible is usually better and sometimes much, much better. If you have a family, your best option is probably a combination of provided and private insurance. You should take the company provided insurance but it would probably be much cheaper if your family was on a separate, private plan. The only really good reason you should find private insurance for yourself is if your travel company’s insurance is unusually high or you take long breaks between assignments and want to avoid the high costs of Cobra.
Company Insurance Comparison (weekly premiums)
*These are actual 2014 benefit summaries from travel nursing companies.
Employee + Child
|Company 1||$10||$95||$130||$230||$5,000||Visits 1-4 $35||100% covered|
|Company 2||$0||$32||$46||$91||$3,600||100% after deductible||100% covered|
|Company 3||$40||$141||$141||$222||$1,500||$30||100% covered|
|Company 4||$0 or $32 if upgrade to family plan||$160||$160||$200||$5,000||You pay 20%, plan pays 80% after deductible met||100% covered|
Esurance Insurance (weekly premiums)
Employee + Child
Employee + Spouse
|Humana 6300/6300||$50.73||$79.11||$104.25||$132.65||$6,300||100% after deductible||100% covered|
|Aetna||$54.25||$84.50||$111.50||$141.75||$6,350||Visits 1-3= $20 copay||100% covered|
|Cigna 6100||$61.25||$95.67||$126.10||$160.42||$6,100||You pay 40%, plan pays 60%-100% paid after deductible||100% covered|
There are benefits and downfalls to both private and company provided insurance based on your individual needs. You can always ask companies you are interested in working with for details about their benefits, most will willingly provide you that information. You can then make an educated decision once you compare all the possibilities.