Travel nursing

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Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:11 am

Travel nursing



I'm a nurse who is strongly considering doing travel nursing. I'm currently exploring all my options for pay benefits, etc. While most travel agencies provide day 1 insurance (health, dental, vision) coverage; I'm exploring the idea of finding a private policy. I know that this would be more expensive but most agencies only carry your policy while you're working with them. They also will carry you on their plan for a set amount of time between assignments (typically <30 days). So if I would take 33 days off, there would be a gap in coverage. While I am young and fairly healthy, I do have a pre-existing condition (asthma and a rare form of cancer). The cancer is specifically in a "wait and see" stage. Right now, its just skin lesions but has the potential to one day turn into a blood cancer. So, it's technically a classified as a blood cancer right now. I doctor once year, and don't take any medications. Does anyone have recommendations on a private insurance company that would have nationwide coverage for health, dental, and vision at a reasonable price?

I have heard that travel nursing is one of the highest audited professions. A lot of agencies, carry dental, vision, health, 401K (some match/some don't-most match after 3-6 months with them), provide a housing stipend-what else should I be considering financially (i.e. tax related)? Feel free to ask me any questions. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read my post. Have a great day!
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Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:12 pm

Re: Travel nursing

Post by rooms222 »

Having been asked some of these questions over the years by travel nurses in my friends and family, here a few of things I have learned.

1) One of my friends has gotten jobs that are non-travel for a few months so that she can then purchase a BCBS plan with national coverage through COBRA for 18 months. BCBS has national coverage, but the payments out of the local area can be great in some cases, and wonky in others. It does seem to be the best national coverage. The ideal BCBS plan for nationwide is probably the Federal government one. One of my family members has had a full-time VA job for 30 years and does home health care as a second job. The VA has an internal travel nursing program that allows access to benefits and changing of locations and some flexibility.

2) They is a large amount of variability in travel nursing companies and travel nurses in what and how they believe is acceptable with regards to financial arrangements and housing. I know of some people that got audited because of per diems and housing arrangements. Some nurses are taking very low pay with large tax-free housing and per diem stipends. Sometimes these arrangements appear to be a tax avoidance plan, and nurses can play with their residency (i.e. seek to get non-taxable per diems and housing support when they actually live in the are or have inexpensive housing arrangements).

3) There is the issue of setting up residency. Many travel nurses set up residency in a state income tax free state, such as TX,FL,TN, or SD. South Dakota allows you to spend one night there and become a state resident, if you have no other homestead. It also is a compact state, which eases being able to practice in many states. Note that residency (not licensure) must be maintained in a compact state to get the benefits of the compact). Also note that many of the travel opportunities are in non-compact states (NY,CA,WA,OR) which requires getting a license for that state.
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