Navigating the complex world of health insurance is a crucial task for travel nurses. Understanding the terminology and jargon associated with health insurance can be a daunting challenge, but it’s essential to make informed decisions about your coverage. In this article, we’ve compiled a travel nursing health insurance glossary to help you decode the key terms and concepts, ensuring you have a clear understanding of your insurance options.

  1. Premium:

A premium is the amount you pay to your insurance provider, typically on a monthly or annual basis, to maintain your health insurance coverage.

  1. Deductible:

A deductible is the initial amount you must pay out of your pocket for covered healthcare services before your insurance plan starts to pay.

  1. Co-payment (Co-pay):

A co-payment is a fixed, pre-determined amount you pay for specific medical services, such as doctor visits or prescription drugs. Co-pays are typically due at the time of service.

  1. Co-insurance:

Co-insurance is the percentage of the cost of covered healthcare services that you are responsible for after you’ve met your deductible. For example, if your insurance covers 80% of a medical service, you’ll be responsible for the remaining 20%.

  1. Out-of-Pocket Maximum (OOPM):

The out-of-pocket maximum is the maximum amount you’ll have to pay for covered healthcare services during a plan year. Once you reach this limit, your insurance plan will cover 100% of your eligible healthcare expenses.

  1. In-Network vs. Out-of-Network:

In-network providers are healthcare professionals and facilities that have contracted with your insurance company to provide services at negotiated rates. Out-of-network providers do not have such agreements and may result in higher costs for you.

  1. Pre-Existing Condition:

A pre-existing condition is a medical condition or illness that existed before you applied for health insurance coverage. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibits insurers from denying coverage or charging higher premiums based on pre-existing conditions.

  1. Health Savings Account (HSA):

An HSA is a tax-advantaged savings account linked to a high-deductible health insurance plan. You can use the funds in an HSA to pay for qualified medical expenses, and contributions may be tax-deductible.

  1. Health Maintenance Organization (HMO):

An HMO is a type of health insurance plan that typically requires you to select a primary care physician (PCP) and obtain referrals to see specialists. HMOs often have lower premiums but require you to receive care within their network.

  1. Preferred Provider Organization (PPO):

A PPO is a type of health insurance plan that allows you to see any healthcare provider, both in-network and out-of-network, without requiring referrals. PPOs offer greater flexibility but may have higher premiums.

  1. Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO):

An EPO is a type of health insurance plan that combines elements of HMOs and PPOs. It typically does not require referrals but restricts coverage to in-network providers only.

  1. Catastrophic Health Insurance:

Catastrophic health insurance is a type of plan with low premiums and high deductibles. It is designed for young, healthy individuals and primarily covers essential health benefits after the deductible is met.


Understanding these key health insurance terms is crucial for travel nurses to make informed decisions about their coverage. When evaluating insurance options, take the time to review plan details and ask questions to ensure you choose the best plan that meets your unique needs as a healthcare traveler. By being knowledgeable about these terms and concepts, you can navigate the world of health insurance with confidence and secure coverage that protects your health and financial well-being.