With almost all health insurance plans, your employees will have some form of health coverage when traveling domestically. However, health plans differ when it comes to coverage terms, payment policies and administrative processes. As the employer, you can boost your employees’ trust in your company’s health insurance plan and help to keep costs low by properly communicating with your staff about seeking health coverage when away from home. If you have several employees who travel frequently, you can provide a health insurance plan with a nationwide, in-network provider.
Emergency care is generally the easiest kind of coverage to understand. Because there are very few options in life-or-death situations, ACA-compliant health insurance plans won’t increase copayments or coinsurance for any out-of-network emergency care. For nonemergency situations or urgent care (such as a high fever), however, your employees should do their best to make sure that the medical attention is covered by your company’s health care plan. Some insurance plans provide nationwide in-network coverage; getting treated in Chicago will be the same as getting coverage while at home in Sacramento. However, not all insurance plans offer such a wide selection of treatment providers, and your employees will have to directly contact the insurance company to verify what treatments are covered and exactly which medical providers are acceptable.
In fact, participants should keep in touch with their health insurance company continuously while receiving treatment. Getting treatment for a high fever at an urgent-care clinic might be acceptable, while getting a dermatitis consultation might be considered unnecessary while away from home. When discussing treatments with the insurance company, your employees should talk about exactly how much each treatment will cost. With some insurance plans, the final out-of-pocket costs while away from home may be the same as the out-of-pocket costs if the employee were at home, but your employees might have to pay more up front and submit for reimbursement. With other plans, even getting treatment for a high fever could cost more while on the road. Your employees should keep copies of every bill to make any possible reimbursements easier to file.
Prescription coverage is easily coordinated while traveling. With nationwide prescription drug stores and fewer in-network restrictions, your employees will likely have no trouble getting prescriptions filled. Generally, pharmacies are well-versed in how to transfer or fill prescriptions regardless of the employees’ home city.
To guide your employees through the process of obtaining emergency and urgent care while traveling, you should encourage your employees to rely directly on the health insurance company for specific instructions. The health insurance company’s website and customer service line are the best ways that your employees can find an in-network doctor to visit while away from home.
While you are not required as the employer to act as a guide for any employees trying to obtain care while on the road, it’s a good idea to educate them on the options available if such a situation arises. In addition, when you deter expensive mistakes (such as receiving emergency care for urgent-care needs), your employees will see lower insurance costs at the time of care — and your company’s health plan premiums will sink, as well.
Dylan Murray has an MBA from San Diego State University and a bachelor’s degree in communication from Boston University. He is a licensed insurance agent in California, but he works as a professional researcher and writer reporting on business trends in estate law, insurance and private security. Dylan has worked as a script analyst with the Sundance Institute and the Scriptwriters Network in Los Angeles. He lives in San Diego, California, and Marseille, France.