When you’re a trucker, your income depends on your well-being. If you are sick or injured, it’s not safe for you to drive, and you shouldn’t drive. When you are unable to drive, you’re not getting paid. Unfortunately, being sick or injured can lead to further loss of trucking jobs and income.
Your health is vital to your job. Because your health is so important, many drivers want to get health insurance to make sure that if they get sick, they can get the care they need and quickly get back on the road.
A health insurance plan can also cover and protect your family. Not only is your health important to make sure that you can do your job, but if anything happens to your spouse or children, you want the best care provided to them without having to break the bank because you had to pay for everything yourself.
Health insurance can be complicated and a hassle to deal with, especially when you are frequently crossing state lines like most drivers do. Here are a few common concerns and questions that you might run into while trying to decide what the best health insurance for truck drivers is.
While every truck driver should have coverage, many drivers do not, or they only have a minimal amount of coverage that does not cover their needs, let alone the needs of their family.
A majority of long-haul truck drivers report having two or more unhealthy behaviors or conditions that can be a threat to their long term health. With such a high risk and potential for personal injury, It is highly recommended for drivers to get good coverage from their health insurance.
Some trucking companies provide good health benefits to their employees, but this is not a guarantee for each company. Also, if you are an owner operator or independent contractor, you might not have health insurance. This means that some truck drivers will need to find their own health insurance. If you are working with a trucking company, make sure to check with them about the health insurance plans that they provide.
Disability insurance is a form of insurance that will provide you either your full or a percentage of your income if you are ever unable to perform your job. Short term disability insurance policies typically cover three to six months of your income. Long term disability insurance typically covers periods longer than six months.
Disability insurance would allow you to be able to support your family, maintain your lifestyle, and still pay for your truck while you are disabled and recovering. It is up to each driver to decide if they should get disability insurance, but it is highly recommended to find a disability insurance plan.
In 2012, 26,000 truck drivers or their passengers were injured in crashes. Disability insurance would help pay for those drivers who were injured and unable to drive because of those accidents.
Short term health insurance fills in gaps between coverages. It is used when you’re between jobs, waiting for a coverage plan to begin, waiting to become eligible for Medicare, or you’re without health insurance. This is not a long term solution and should only be relied on while you are between insurance coverages.
The coverage of short term health insurance for truck drivers is limited. Short term plans provide drug discounts, but typically do not provide drug coverage. Complications of maternity are covered, but not standard childbirth services.
Many services are only provided in short term health insurance, if it is mandated at the state level. This means that the plans will change in their coverage depending on which state you live in. Services and coverage that are not covered generally, but can be covered depending on state mandates, include mental health services, substance use disorder services, rehabilitation services, habilitative services and devices, pediatric service, and oral and dental care. If you do apply for short term health care, make sure to understand the plan so that you know which of these, if any, are included in your plan.
Short term plans are not part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and do not have any coverage requirements. This means that they are not limited to how much they cost, or the extent of their coverage.
This coverage is not intended for long term use, and typically only lasts less than a year. Short term health insurance is not a long term option for health insurance, and typically has exclusions or limitations regarding coverage of preexisting conditions or specific health benefits. Some policies even have dollar limits on health benefits, which means that the insurance company will only pay up to a certain level, and nothing more.
This is a hard question to answer because every driver has different ideas of what they expect and need from a company. Where some companies are able to provide better benefits, their base pay is lower, while other companies do not provide great benefits but their pay is higher.
The trucking company with the best benefits is subjective, and really up to each driver’s preferences. There are some things to consider when doing your homework on companies that you can drive for. While some companies might have almost no health benefits or a very high deductible plan as part of their compensation plans, they pay more. In this situation you would be able to budget that extra income to find additional health insurance coverage with a company on your own. This gives you the autonomy and freedom to find the best fit for your needs. For those who want more control and say in their healthcare, this can be a great option for you.
For those who do not want to put additional time and effort to research insurance providers and coverage plans, it might be better for you to find a company that has a lower annual pay rate, but has more health insurance coverage.
There are no absolute winners and best companies within trucking because if there were every driver would be lining up to join them. The important part of finding a company to work with is to see if what they provide matches your personal budget and needs.
Gap insurance is supplemental health plans that fill in the gaps of your main health plan. It acts like a cushion for drivers who have high-deductible health care plans. It’s almost like having an insurance plan for your insurance plan. The goal is to lower your overall out of pocket costs by providing funds to pay for a large deductible until your main insurance policy comes into effect.
For example, you have a primary insurance plan that has a high deductible of $3,000. That means that for one year, the first $3,000 of your health care needs would have to come out of pocket. After you reached the $3,000 deductible, your primary insurance plan would cover the cost of your health care.
In that example, gap insurance would help you by either paying all, or some, of the $3,000 deductible for your primary insurance. The role of gap insurance is so you don’t have to pay some or all of your annual deductible.
Gap policies are not major medical insurance. They come with limited benefits. Typically that means that no matter the severity of your situation and why you are using the insurance, there is only a set amount of money that the gap insurance will pay you.
Gap policies do not meet the standards set by the Affordable Care Act, which means that consumers can’t use gap insurance by itself without having to pay additional tax penalties.
There are companies that are specialized in trucking insurance. Most of these companies are regional companies that will be able to provide services for you in your home state.
While regional trucking insurance companies can provide better rates than some national companies, trucking insurance companies generally provide a wide variety of insurance plans for your truck, but they do not provide health insurance.
Make sure to double check each company’s plan and see if health insurance is included in a bundle package. If you do find a trucking insurance company that does not provide health insurance as part of a bundle package, you will still need a health insurance provider.
Truckers associations are unified groups of individual owner operators, independent contractors, as well as small fleets, and represent the group in negotiating with the insurance companies. The trucker’s association is able to use the numbers that they represent to advocate for better deals for individual plans than what could be possible with a single fleet or individual contacting the insurance company.
If you choose to join a trucker’s association, they will be able to offer you information and services that they have negotiated with other companies, which includes insurance benefits at better rates. To provide this information and rates, the truckers association does require annual fees and dues.
There are differing opinions as to whether being a member of a trucker’s association is worth the cost in your yearly budget. Some truckers believe that the fees are too high and the benefits are not worth the cost of membership. On the other hand, other truckers believe that they couldn't have found the level of success they have had without a truckers association helping them find things like the best health insurance for truck drivers.
Buying health insurance can be complicated when trying to find the plan that best fits your needs. Health insurance is an important investment to help mitigate the costs of injury or sickness. There is no one plan or company that is the best health insurance for truck drivers, but it depends on your needs and budget to find a plan that best fits your unique situation.