Travel Nurse: Checklist (Insurance and Benefits)

We need to make sure we find out all we can before we're on the road. Before we sign that contract, pack our bags, and wave good-bye to friends and co-workers, we need to ask a lot of questions. I mean, who wants to put their license in jeopardy, or get stuck in a crappy situation with incompetent or no help?

My next three posts will include a series of checklists that some of you might find helpful to utilize before taking on a new assignment. I recommend printing this and the next two posts (about checklists) out so you can have them in hand before you call or interview with your potential agencies and facilities. Here are some questions or FAQ's every travel nurse needs to ask :


Ask the agency:
* Will I have insurance coverage (malpractice, life, medical, dental)?
* What are the cost and coverage for each type of insurance (maximum out-of-pocket expense, date of eligibility, premiums, and deductibles)?
* When does coverage begin for each? Who's covered? What's covered? Are existing conditions covered? If not, when will they be covered?
* Will I have a choice of health care providers and hospitals?
Can I use the insurance when I travel to other states or countries?
* Will I lose the coverage if I take a break between travel nursing contracts?


Ask the agency:
* Are there other benefits and bonuses? 401(k)? Loyalty program? Continuing-education or travel reimbursement? Sign-on bonus? Completion bonus? Larger bonus for longer stay or for hard-to-fill position? Bonus for referrals?
* Does the agency offer meal allowances? Travel awards? Vacations? Special payment arrangements for items or conveniences important to me?
* If the agency pays bonuses, when would I qualify for one? What conditions must I meet to qualify for it? When would my bonus be paid? Would it be taxed?
* If the agency offers a retirement plan, when would I become eligible to contribute to it? Does the agency match my contribution? If so, when would that begin and what would the contribution consist of? When would I become vested? Into what investments would my funds be placed? Would I have control of my investments? Is there a penalty for withdrawing my money if I stop traveling?
* Will I have typical mileage reimbursement when I travel for the agency or hospital? Will the reimbursement cover a portion for transportation to the assignment and then reimbursement for return to my home (or to my next assignment)?
* Can travel reimbursement be arranged to meet my individual needs?
* How long has the travel agency been in business?
* Does the agency provide support and assistance with license processing, licensing fees, and other credentialing needs?

Asking these questions probably won’t make you the most-liked, but it will certainly help you become well-informed and better prepared. So, get out your pad and paper, and get to asking. If you conduct these simple interviews, it will assist you in deciding which agency and facility you should choose, and give you some peace of mind knowing you will be going into an assignment as a well-informed nurse.