As independent contractors, locum tenens physicians are responsible to provide their own medical, dental, life, and disability insurance. While this means a little more work on your part, it also means you have the flexibility to choose coverage that best fits your needs. Here are a few tips for finding locum tenens health insurance.
Participate in a spouse’s benefits plan
One of the easiest ways to get healthcare coverage is to have your spouse add you to their employer-sponsored benefits plan. Many employers offer medical, dental, disability, and life insurance for their employees, spouses, and their dependents. You may be entitled to other benefits as well, like telemedicine services, legal coverage, and even pet insurance. If you have questions about coverage, have your spouse contact their company’s benefits team for help.
Enroll in COBRA
While COBRA is a temporary solution, you may want to consider taking advantage of this short-term insurance if you are using locums work to cover a transition between permanent jobs. COBRA premiums are generally higher than you paid for your previous employer’s coverage, but it does guarantee insurance for you and all dependents if you enroll.
Visit the HealthCare.gov insurance exchange
In a recent CHG Healthcare survey of nearly 4,500 locum tenens physicians, 23 percent said they used HealthCare.gov to find and enroll in insurance. For many, the Affordable Care Act insurance exchange has made it easier to get health insurance on your own. What you might not know is that each health insurance plan offered through the exchange must include:
- Prescription medications
- Lab tests
- Outpatient care
- ER visits
- Preventive care
- Inpatient hospital care
- Mental health and substance abuse disorder care
- Prenatal and postnatal care
- Dental and vision care for kids
- Help recovering from an injury or treating a chronic illness or disability
Healthcare.gov shows you the available health insurance plans in your state, and then you can compare the gold, silver, and bronze plans to see which coverage is best for your family and your budget. It’s helpful to look at what you spent for healthcare over the past several years to get an idea of the coverage you really need.
Look at professional associations and groups for coverage
If you’re already a member of the American Medical Association (AMA), it’s worth looking into their healthcare plans, including life, disability, auto, home, and hospital income insurance. You may also qualify for dental, vision, and long-term care insurance as a member of AARP. Another option you may consider for insurance is the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE). NASE members have access to many health benefits, including health, vision, dental, and critical illness insurance.
Consult a local independent insurance agent
If you’re looking for personalized help with your insurance, that’s where a local independent insurance agent comes in. Check out Healthcare.gov’s Find Local Help to identify agents (generally paid by insurance companies) or assisters (trained to help you enroll in a health plan) in your neighborhood who can help. You can also visit the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website for tips on finding a qualified agent or check out your state’s insurance department.
While acquiring locum tenens health insurance takes more effort than joining an employer’s plan, you have more options and flexibility. You can customize it to your family’s needs, and you’ll only need to buy the coverage you want. Plus, getting help can make buying your own insurance easier and more affordable thank you may think.
Do you have tips that helped you find health insurance as a locum tenens physician? Share them in the comments below.