Last updated 1/16/2021
Working locum tenens provides many opportunities, from a more flexible schedule to higher earning potential. Yet without a full-time position, you might be wondering if you’ll have access to benefits like health care or a retirement savings plan. While physicians working locums are independent contractors and need to take care of their own insurance, nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) who work for Weatherby are considered W-2 employees, which makes them eligible for full benefits. Weatherby offers all locum tenens NPs and PAs a flexible benefits package that’s easy to sign up for and starts on day one of your assignment.
Here are the answers to the most common questions about Weatherby’s health benefits for locum tenens PAs and NPs:
What’s my employment status?
All NPs and PAs working locum tenens through Weatherby are considered traveler employees and receive a W-2. This makes you eligible for benefits through Weatherby as well.
What benefits can I receive?
Weatherby offers a variety of health benefits for locum tenens NPs and PAs. You’ll have the choice of healthcare plans, including dental and vision coverage. Plans are made more affordable due to a generous employer contribution.
Additional benefits include a 401(k) option (Weatherby will match 50% of the first 7% you contribute), basic life insurance, Teladoc services, and health advocate access. An employee assistance program is also available to help you with a variety of concerns ranging from mental health care to financial counseling.
Who can use these benefits?
If you elect coverage for yourself, you can also extend coverage to your spouse or domestic partner as well as your dependent children (up to age 26). Your rates will vary depending on how many individuals are covered under the plan.
How do I sign up for benefits?
You’ll have 30 days from the start of your assignment to enroll in coverage, and benefits are effective on day one of your assignment. To sign up, you’ll receive an email with a link to your benefits portal where you can review your options and elect coverage.
Note that it’s best to sign up sooner rather than later. Since your benefits are effective on the first day of your assignment, waiting too long to elect coverage may require you to make up for missed premium payments in subsequent paychecks.
How does a gap in my employment affect my coverage?
It’s common for PAs and NPs to take a break in between locum tenens assignments. At Weatherby, you can keep the same coverage even when you’re not working provided the time between assignments is less than 31 days. However, keep in mind that the cost of premiums accrued during the gap will be paid out of your next assignment’s paychecks.
If you have a longer gap between assignments or decide to discontinue working with Weatherby, you’ll still be eligible for COBRA continuation of coverage for your health benefits. You can elect COBRA coverage for up to 18 months; however, Weatherby will no longer to contribute to your premiums once your employment ends.
When can I make changes to my benefits?
Every time you begin a new contract or assignment, you’re eligible to make changes to your benefits. This means you’re not obligated to remain on a specific plan or wait until an open enrollment period to switch to a new one or change your elections. Being able to cancel or enroll in different benefits for each new assignment adds yet another element of flexibility to your locums employment.
What does Weatherby offer that many other agencies do not?
Weatherby understands that health care coverage is important, and that’s why we provide NPs and PAs with day-one coverage — that means you have access to all of your benefits the very first day you work with us.
You complete benefits registration easily through an online portal, which also provides access to ID cards and claims information — saving you time and hassle while on assignment.
Another unique benefit offered by Weatherby is the 31-day bridge period, during which NPs and PAs can keep their benefits while in between assignments. As long as you begin a new assignment within this time period, there is no gap in your coverage.
Who can I talk to if I have more questions?
Your Weatherby consultant is a great resource for questions about benefits. For more detailed information on Weatherby’s health benefits for locum tenens, the benefits department is available to answer questions at 800.811.1796.