One of the hardest parts about travel nursing is finding a health insurance plan that suits all of your needs. Besides choosing between a PPO or HMO (or any of the other plans out there), it’s important to anticipate the types of healthcare resources you may need access to in the near future. Keep your specific needs in mind as you navigate health insurance options. To help you pick the best health insurance for you, here are five things to stay away from.
Buying A Policy You Don’t Understand
Before buying any insurance plan, you need to be familiar with terms like premiums, coinsurance costs, and out-of-pocket maximums to name a few. Don’t be afraid to ask what certain things mean or for a breakdown of what you will be receiving. Understanding common terminology will help you know what a specific plan will cover and how much your healthcare could cost you out of pocket. Make sure you have a clear idea of what you will have to pay when seeing a regular doctor or a specialist, how much you could be charged for out-of-network care, and the maximum amount you could end up spending on covered care for the year.
Only Focusing On The Premiums
There is no doubt that healthcare insurance can be expensive, but only focusing on cheaper premiums is risky. Cheaper premiums do not necessarily mean a low cost of care. Plans with low premiums usually come with very high deductibles, copays, and coinsurance costs. It is important to focus on what you will need for the year and how your plan will help you take care of it. If you only need one or two medications, buying a policy with lower premiums that provides less coverage can make sense (considering your health status won’t change during the year), but if you routinely see the doctor, you may be far better off picking a more comprehensive policy.
Not Checking The Policy’s Provider Network
Health insurance plans, like HMO plans, offer little to no coverage for out-of-network care. Choosing to see a doctor who is not included in your approved network could make you liable to pay a lot of money out of pocket for the care you need. If there is a specific doctor you want to stick with, make sure they are in-network before buying a policy. You can check with your potential insurance provider or call the doctor’s office to see if they are a participating provider of the insurance you’re thinking about buying. If you don’t have a particular doctor in mind, make sure the provider network isn’t too restricting. A good policy will cover care within 50 miles of where you’re located. If they don’t, then it is probably not the best deal for you.
Leaving Out Your Family’s Needs
If you are a traveler with a family, it is very important to assess each family members’ individual needs. One policy may be right for one person but could be wrong for someone else. As your family life changes, your plan may have to change with it. Compare what you spent on healthcare last year with what you think you will need for the upcoming year. If you expect to need more care in the future, look for a more comprehensive policy. But if you’ve rarely been to the doctor and expect nothing to change, you may be able to downgrade to a cheaper plan with less coverage.
If you are planning to have children soon or someone in your household has a chronic condition, you should consider upgrading to a policy with higher premiums for better coverage. Even if you’ve been fine in the past with a high-deductible health plan, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Not Getting Full Credit Toward Your Deductible
It is important to verify that all of your eligible out-of-pocket payments are credited toward your deductible. Since some plans have one deductible for in-network providers and another for out-of-network, ask about the details of the deductible rules before you choose your provider. Also, if the out-of-network provider charges you above the amount your insurance will pay, ask if that counts toward your deductible. Find out if any benefits have first-dollar coverage. Some plans cover routine care and pharmacy benefits even though you haven’t reached your deductible.
Knowing the dos and don’ts of picking a health insurance plan can help guide you to the perfect plan for you. It is necessary to stay well-informed to make sure you get the best solution.
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