You need to take care of a variety of things before you embark on your next locum tenens assignment. You’ll need to ensure that your medical license is valid in the state you’re traveling to. You will also need to have your housing situation ironed out before you arrive. While these are both vital to your locum tenens career, you need to think about coverage as well. You will essentially be a contracted worker, so your locum tenens coverage won’t always be covered by your employer, so it’s important that you know what you’re doing. Malpractice insurance and your own personal health insurance are required for almost all locum tenens assignments. Luckily, we’ve provided this locum tenens coverage guide to ensure that you can navigate the insurance landscape smoothly.
The Locum Tenens Coverage Guide
Locum Tenens Malpractice Insurance
When it comes to locum tenens coverage, malpractice insurance is essential. Some employers will offer malpractice insurance, but not always, so make sure to do your research if you need a policy from a private company. A locum tenens malpractice policy provides coverage to the physician for damages suffered by a patient resulting from professional healthcare service. Policies generally contain very specific definitions for limitations or exclusions of coverage. It’s important to make sure you fully understand any and all of a given policy’s exclusions before signing a contract. These contracts usually last for an entire year. You can adjust the contract based on its length.
It’s also important to know which types of policies are available when dealing with locum tenens coverage. For malpractice insurance, there are two main types of policies.
Claims-Made Policy – A claims-made policy means that the claim must be reported during the time of the coverage. The incident must have happened during that time. Many physicians will also choose to purchase a “tail policy” which is an extension of your original plan. This will give the physician coverage during things like retirement, paid-leave, or transitioning into a new assignment.
An option frequently used by locum tenens companies with claims made policies is for any new policy to carry a retroactive date back to the company inception date resulting in an extended reporting period for prior exposure. This effectively negates the need for a tail for a locum tenens, which is great you’re your bank account!
Occurrence Policy – An occurrence policy covers the physician regardless of when the claim is made. When it comes to locum tenens coverage, this is usually the most expensive option for both you and your employer. This is usually only offered in an academic setting, like a new residency. However, it’s still possible that your employer would be willing to pay for an occurrence policy. This type of policy is more expensive up front, but you won’t have to worry about purchasing a “tail policy.”
Locum Tenens Health Insurance
You will need to get health insurance as well. Luckily, there are a variety of different ways that you can get a stellar health insurance policy.
Go Private – As always, finding a private insurance company that will offer an affordable policy is a great option. There are literally thousands of different insurance companies, so make sure to take your time so you can find the best possible option for you.
Join Your Spouse – Another way that you can get locum tenens coverage is to join your spouse on his or her health insurance policy. Your spouse might need to contribute a higher premium for family coverage, but it will usually still be cheaper than an individual policy.
Medicaid – Although the future of the Affordable Care Act remains unclear, you can still currently apply for Medicaid. This government-funded program offers health insurance at low rates depending on your income and a few other factors. This is great for those newly licensed healthcare professionals who might be dealing with medical school debt.
Join a Professional Group – Believe it or not, there are a variety of different professional groups that offer health insurance. If you’re balancing a locum tenens job with some extra schooling, your school might offer health insurance programs. If you’re nearing retirement and looking for a cheaper policy, AARP offers health insurance options for those over 50. Other options include church groups and alumni associations as well.
We hope this helped you tackle the obstacle of locum tenens coverage. Check out our “jobs” page to land the ideal locum tenens assignment after finding the perfect locum tenens coverage.