Do nurses have good medical insurance?

  1. Hi all,
    I would like to know what kind of medical insurance benefits nurses normally have under various levels of certification and from different types of employers. I am not a nurse -yet- but I am looking at it as a second career after I early retire. Mostly though I am asking for the benefit of my kids who are in college, as a potential career for them.

    Son has a condition that does not impair him at all, as long as he gives himself IV shots several times a week. Unfortunately they costs thousands each shot. While still a student, he is covered 100% by his dad's insurance which is super. After this runs out in 2 years, he would be refused any private policy and must rely on his future employer. He cannot get Medicare disability because he is not disabled (we tried). Though he might become disabled if he can no longer get his medicine. My daughter is on some medications but her costs are much more typical.

    Also before my husband died of cancer, we noted a lot of unfairness in the system. We stood in line at a cancer center pharmacy and picked up a 30 day supply of a cancer drug for a small copay (Thalomid). In the next line, a woman had to write a check for 10,000 copay with the same prescription (and also the same insurance company but a different type of policy). So just because somebody is "insured" doesn't mean they have enough coverage to handle a worst case type of disease that could happen to any of us.

    While my husband was a patient at a major cancer center in Houston, I asked an RN what her coverage was like. She said it was pretty good (I think it was from the state), but they probably would not get approved for a transplant, like a bone marrow transplant. I filed that away in my mind since I was pretty occupied at the time, but I wonder if many of us really know what our insurance covers and how far it will go?

    Most people here don't seem as concerned with medical insurance as other job factors, so I am hoping that it's not a big problem with nursing as a career, and that everybody had good insurance.

    Do RNs and LVN/LPN's working for hospitals, agencies, doctors offices, etc. have good enough coverage to actually become sick?

    I would appreciate input from all walks of nursing. This is something that as a mother, I lie awake worrying about since my son will soon face life without his dad's insurance. After repeatedly waking up worrying about this all night, I decided to come to this board for help this morning.

    Thank you so much in advance for anything you can share.
  2. Visit ambermichelle profile page

    About ambermichelle

    Joined: Feb '09; Posts: 19; Likes: 23
    engineer; from US
    Specialty: nursing family members with rare disease


  3. by   CPhT2RNstudent
    Hospitals are you are best bet.
  4. by   rnmi2004
    Like any other job, it depends on the employer.

    My hospital owns the insurance company and most of the physicians offices where my co-workers and myself get our medical care, so you'd think I'd have great insurance. Not so.

    Between insurance premiums that keep rising and ridiculously high deductibles, I pay thousands a year. My daughter has a chronic health condition that would make my out-of-pocket cost even higher (tens of thousands higher!) but she qualifies for a state health program that covers what my medical insurance doesn't.

    If insurance benefits are very important, I'd suggest talking to employees if possible. HR is going to tell you that they offer good insurance and give you a benefits summary that looks good on paper, but talk to the people that actually have to use it and see how good they think their insurance really is.
  5. by   jackson145
    I don't think the type of insurance you're offered will have anything to do with the job title of nurse or any level of certification you achieve.
    It will all be a matter of what insurance company a facility offers. Every place of employment will pick their own insurance company and plan. Every employee, regardless of position/pay/experience, will be offered that plan. However, part-time employees can usually expect to pay more per paycheck for their benefits.

    In my experience, the bigger employers (hospital versus independant Doc office), tend to have better benefits packages. Discount by bulk, you know.

    When you interview for a potential job, they will ask you for any questions you might have. Be prepared to grill them on the healthcare benefits their facility offers.
  6. by   Ginger's Mom
    Larger the place usually the more options they offer, that is why hospitals often have the best deal.
  7. by   hypocaffeinemia
    Depends on the hospital. Mine has some of the best insurance I've ever seen. Aside from a typical United Healthcare PPO in-network/out-of-network structure, there's a level of service that pretty much says any procedures or admissions at our facility has a flat $125 copay. That's it. That's all we paid to have our baby here; it's all I would pay if I had spent a week in the hospital and had a CABG here.

    What makes it that much better is that even though I'm at a smaller community hospital, we're the satellite branch of one of the most respected hospitals in the country, and we have a partnership with Texas Children's Hospital so the same flat copay works there, too.
  8. by   Nurturer3
    I don't think just because we are nurses we get any better benefits than anyone else. Where I work, at a major medical center and the largest employer in my state, the insurance is not good at all. My co-pays for prescriptions are much higher than my non nursing friends. I can actually go to Walmart and pay full price for some of my prescriptions and that is still cheaper than using my insurance. My insurance plan caps off at a certain amount per year and then you pay 100% of everything if you reach the maximum.
  9. by   ambermichelle

    Thanks for your reply.

    Are you saying that, if your medical costs reach a certain amount, that YOU pay everything over that, or the opposite, that your cost is capped at a certain amount and above it they pay everything?

    I have heard of the latter type, i.e. that you pay more up front, but if it's over a certain amount they cover the rest. Your post sounds like the opposite, which sounds appalling if you develop a serious problem, or have to have surgery or get in an accident. A coworder says his son's car accident injuries have cost his insurance $500,000 so far, fortunately he has good insurance.
  10. by   Nurturer3
    Sadly, what I am I saying is that the amount of money the insurance company will pay annually has a limit. Once, that limit is reached, they no longer cover anything. The cap amount is very high and the limit would be reached in cases of transplants, or another major life changing event. One of my co-worker's husband, who she carries on her insurance, has a chronic medical condition that requires monthly IV infusions. She has never reached the cap limit, but she does have to pay 3x the monthly premium that I do because she is considered "high risk".
  11. by   luvschoolnursing
    I have better insurance working for the public school system than is currently offered in the hospital where I used to work. When I worked there, it was great, but things there have changed greatly.
  12. by   StrwbryblndRN
    OUr hospital has different levels of an insurance plan and also seperate plan altogether. So we have a greater options. The plans that have a deductible and cost more in premiums are better. (at least for me) I learned that the hard way.
    I changed over to a cheaper insurance with no deductible, it just requires a referral. Or so I though. However I did not realize that they do not cover the emergent care clinicals. (Not an ER but can be used to get abx for strep if not able to get an appt or if it is fri nite; and it could be used as your primary) Also my PCP can't order much in diagnostics and only a specialist can. So what looks good in cost could really be bad when it comes to getting a diagnosis. I know I will not repeat that again. If it was not for the fact that issues came up I would have been happy. But now I know it is not worth it.
    As my PCP said verbatim in regards to getting a test done. "it will take an act of congress with your new insurance" .....sigh
  13. by   Vito Andolini
    For the best coverage, become a Senator. Seriously.

    I have a friend who works for a hospital/medical school. She's been with them for over 30 years. She tells me that when she retires in just a few years, she will have no medical coverage. The retirees do not have group medical coverage. Have you ever in all your born days?

    The situations you describe with your son, OP, and this one and I'm sure many others should be sending the alarm bells ringing. Our health coverage in America is shameful - unless you are a Senator or Representative. I am very serious. America needs to come out of the Dark Ages on this issue. It is completely ridiculous and totally unsatisfactory that getting sick or injured should cost us our job, our house, our savings, etc. We should not be reduced to homelessness and poverty when we fall upon hard times with our health or our family members' health.

    Other countries have gotten it together in this regard and we need to do it, too. Please write your Senators and Reps today, demanding that they fix this horribly flawed situation. We need to get rid of private insurance companies, who care only about their profit, whether non-profit or for profit.
  14. by   ambermichelle
    Thanks to all of you for your examples and thoughts. I see now that it's about the same as most fields. One advantage you may have as nurses is that you often have more choices of employers, and while not recession proof as many threads have pointed out, the job market is better than most and is projected to expand in the future.

    Vito I share your sentiments that we do need to fill the gaps for people who can't get insurance because of a preexisting condition and cannot buy individual policies available to the more fortunate healthy people. There are a lot of advertisements about insurance for people in your friend's situation after retirement--but they all have an asterisk and a small note saying coverage is subject to being underwritten. They won't underwrite anyone with any significant medical past.

    I doubt we can or should abruptly transition away from insurance companies altogether; they do provide a service (though it's largely inefficient and too expensive), and I wouldn't want to suddenly put an entire industry out of a job... but maybe take steps to provide an option for those who don't have access to employer or private insurance, whether through the government or by requiring private insurance companies to cover such people.