Becoming a locum tenens physician provides the opportunity to have more freedom in your schedule, practice in diverse settings, and learn from a variety of mentors in the field. While all these benefits rest at your feet, it is also important to note that you should expect to be responsible for your own health insurance. Changing to a self-employed independent contractor – like those with locum doctor jobs – will require health insurance research on your part; however, it will also give you the flexibility in choosing the coverage that best suits your needs. Here are several options to assist you with your choice:Enroll in Your Spouse's Insurance Plan
If your spouse has access to employer-sponsored health insurance, it is possible to enroll under that plan. Employer-sponsored health insurances generally allow for bundled family plans and offer an array of options, including medical, dental, disability, and life insurance. Most health insurance providers will require a higher premium when adding family members to the primary insurance holder’s plan, but this is a simple switch.
COBRA is provided as short-term coverage for yourself and any dependents on your previous employer’s health insurance when transitioning between permanent positions. If you are using locum tenens work during a job transition or need coverage while searching for long-term health insurance, this is a great temporary option that guarantees coverage. COBRA will offer coverage for up to 18 months and a higher premium than your previous health insurance.
Participate in State Insurance Exchange
Another opportunity for obtaining locum tenens health insurance can be found by visiting HealthCare.gov to access the marketplace for health insurance exchange in your state. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers various levels of coverage to choose from reliant on your needs and rates you are willing to pay. HealthCare.gov provides an open enrollment period every year to obtain the coverage you desire with fewer restrictions. However, if you wish to join this type of insurance outside of the open enrollment period, specific events located on their website can allow you to participate.
Utilize Professional Associations
Employing your membership in professional associations and groups is another way to obtain health insurance. If you are already a member or are looking to become a member, various insurance options are available through these groups. These professional associations include the American Medical Association, AARP, and National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE). The American Medical Association offers plans for healthcare in addition to life, disability, auto, home, and hospital income insurance. AARP can assist in qualifying you for health insurance as well as dental, vision, and long-term care insurance. NASE offers insurance as well, such as health, vision, dental, and critical illness insurance.
Contact Insurance Companies & Agents
Although not as convenient as an option for locum doctor jobs, contacting insurance companies directly is an additional possibility when searching for health insurance. For more personalized assistance, contacting a local independent insurance agent allows you to use one-on-one support to find the best benefits for you and your dependents. The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) can provide information on agents in your area. Additional resources on local agents are included at HealthCare.gov.
While the transition requires you to obtain personal health insurance, taking a locum tenens position also allows for more options and flexibility. You can customize your plan and buy the coverage that you want to provide what is best for you and your family while having the freedom to travel and earn a higher income with a flexible schedule.