The End Is Near

Happy Holidays,   For many Plastic Surgery Residents and Fellows this coming  year will mean the end of your training. Congratulations, you will have endured one of the roughest and toughest educational paths for any career. However, have you taken the time to protect yourself from harm? In other words have you made sure that your ability to earn an income in your specialty is properly protected? Believe it or not your ability to earn an income in your specialty can be valued anywhere from $5 to $15 million, making your skill set your number one asset. If you haven’t considered how much is at stake, its not too late. Purchasing Disability Insurance during residency or fellowship even in its waning days has significant advantages to waiting in private practice. A few of the reasons why this is so important are as follows:

Rates are usually significantly Cheaper during residency than in the private sector. Uni-sex rates for women are still available through most residency programs. If you have a medical history there are options available to you in while residency for protection at lower rates with no medical questions asked. Once you start you first day of practice your ability to purchase Professional insurance is severely limited by any group benefit disability programs your employer provides. Group Policies more times then not don’t provide the appropriate protection for highly skilled.Medical Specialists. (Think about it you are getting the same policy your employer provides to all workers in the organization including: Janitors, Secretaries, Nurses, ETC.) This protection should not be viewed as a primary source of security, but as a supplement to your professional protection.

The next 6 months are critical to you career, because they represent your last opportunity to get protection designed specifically for you at rates and products only available to you during training. If you haven’t yet looked into protecting your $10 million future income, now would be a good time to start. I suggest you find a specialist with experience who can help provide you with the piece of mind you deserve. Also remember if you already have a disability policy you want to begin tuning it up now, so that you are well prepared for whatever your future employment situation will be. For more on this subject please see our Tuning up your disability blog post.

For more information or to request a free quote please connect with incomeprotectionspecialist.com.  We are always available to help with any of your concerns.

Universal Exclusions For Disability Coverage

By now, you know that the reason you as a specialist in Gastroenterology that you need disability insurance is to protect your income because of an injury or sickness that prevents you from earning one as a physician.  The potential loss is upwards of  $10 million. Needless to say that is lot of money, which is why insurance carriers or companies have special protections for themselves to limit the risk.  They do this with exclusions and limitations.  This enables the provider to dismiss a claim under certain circumstances. Each company has its own defined exclusions therefor it is imperative that you as a buyer thoroughly understand your policy.

Although there are definite distinctions between companies on exclusions, some are universal within the Insurance Industry. The most common are injuries or disabilities caused by illegal felonious activities, those that are self-inflicted, and acts of war. Just like any exclusion, the purpose of these standard limitations serves to limit or eliminate the risk faced by the insurance company. Let’s break them down

Felonies- In short, if you claim a disability due to a felony or attempted felony that you commit, the insurance company has the right to decline payment of your claim.

Self-inflicted injuries- If you claim a disability due to self-inflicted injury with the intention of defrauding an insurance company, your claim will not be honored.

Acts of War- This might seem simple but there are some claims under this category that can be excluded, which you might not have considered.  War by legal definition is an ongoing unresolved conflict. The Insurers use this broad definition as a means to exclude claims in this area.  Some basic exclusions include injuries or sickness related to acts of terrorism like the recent event in Las Vegas. Additionally, this definition allows the carrier the right to exclude claims sustained during marches and any other demonstration due to civil unrest. A good example of this could include controversies and demonstrations such as those we experience in St. Louis and the like.

It is incumbent upon your agent as a professional to review your policy with you.  In this way, you can ask relevant questions and be certain that you have a solid grasp of the defined limitations and exclusions contained within.

For 30 years Income Protection Specialist, an independent advisor free from insurance company bias and control, has focused on educating specialist and helping them make the right decision for themselves and their family. Why trust anyone other than a specialist.

Income Protection Specialist.com

What Own Occupation Protection Really Means To You

 

The practice of medicine has come a long way in the last 100 yrs.  Just look at the BBC series “Quacks” and that should give you some point of reference.  The development of specialties and sub-specialties has created entirely new ways of practicing.  Take Anesthesiology for example, a specialty that was limited to primitive drugs at the turn of the 19th century has spawned numerous sub specialties like Pain Management, Surgical Anesthesia and the like.  Each of which take years of training to begin practicing professionally.  Considering all that you have invested in your career, it is crucial that you cover yourself from the financial impact of a disability with a specialty specific, own occupation disability insurance policy.  You need to understand how this disability policy will work for you in your specialty.

All policies are unique to their respective owner.  Your personal disability income protection policy will be written to cover your duties for instance of you as a Surgical Anesthesiologist, Radiologist, ENT etc.  However, when a disability arises you may no longer be able to perform in that area should it be permanent.   The Own Occupation clause allows you to earn an income in another area of medicine or field and continue to collect your benefits.  This is wonderful because it provides you with options.

My hope is that you have a basic understanding of the value to owning a specialty specific policy and the benefits that can be derived from it.  IncomProtectionSpecialist.com has been assisting physicians just like you to secure the policies necessary to cover you in your area of expertise for 30 yrs.  Give us a call or email us and ask us about this invaluable coverage.

When COLA Is Not A Coke

Disability Income Protection coverage is important to you as a specialist in Emergency Medicine, Anesthesia, Otolaryngology, Neuro Surgery and all of the other medical specialties.  You know that it provides you an income stream if you become disabled, but unless you already have a solid financial foundation and substantial savings it will most likely not cover your expenses if your disability is long term.  This is when we add a rider called the Cost of Living Benefit (COLA).

The Cost of Living Benefit or COLA as it is call in the industry is a product that offsets the impact of inflation on the benefits of your policy.  A COLA rider will adjust for inflation annually after 365 days of disability and every year thereafter.  It is customarily calculated by the consumer price index. The Consumer Price Index calculates the increase in cost of goods most commonly purchased by consumers from year to year. In other words, it puts a figure to the inflation you incur for typical purchases annually.

Every insurance provider has their own version of a COLA rider. They might adjust annually based on the fixed percentage determined from expected inflation. Other benefit packages will compound annually. In either case, it is important to be note that this important option is available to you. Yet as I mentioned earlier if your nest egg is solid and can cover the added expense brought on by inflation you may not need it.  Always talk with your insurance specialist and evaluate the need.  It might be necessary (and usually is) in the beginning of your career, but something that can be dropped as you become more financially stable.

Should you have any questions about this or any other disability protection topic please contact us at IncomeProtectionSpecialist.com.  We are always here to help.

Shopping for Disability Protection

Shopping for disability insurance is important to make certain you get the kind of coverage that is right for you in your specialty as an Anesthesiologist.  It is no different than shopping for a new pair of shoes or a car.  It all starts with something you want or need. Maybe you start by looking online or heading directly to your local store to get an idea of cost.   As a specialist in Anesthesia, you probably know that having an quality disability income protection policy is something you should have. In fact it could be a financially disastrous mistake if the coverage you choose doesn’t suit your specialty.

Kyle Edward Musleh, the founder of IncomeProtectionSpecialists.com suggests, “When you are shopping for the right disability policy it’s important to search out an independent agent who specializes in Disability Income Protection. Independent agents should provide you with an unbiased spread sheet of all the policy options and carriers appropriate for your specialty.”  Kyle goes on to say, “that a qualified professional should provide between 4 to 5 different choices with apple to apple comparisons of all the top carriers including the plus’s and minus’s of each.”  He says, “these steps are critical should you have to use the protection early in your career and the policy is not appropriate, the cost could be astronomical and lead to financial ruin.”

In conclusion, make sure that just as you would be diligent in your search for a new car, that the Disability Income Protection Insurance you choose is the one that protects you and your needs.

 

 

Disability Income Protection Fact Versus Fiction

Whether you are specializing in Anesthesia or Neurosurgery you know that at some point you will need to purchase person disability income insurance.  Hopefully you have already begun the process of protecting your income.  Lets explore some facts versus the fiction that may help you jump that hurdle if its holding you back.

Two of the most common fictions are that it is too expensive and it will never happen to me.  The time is now, it will never be less expensive than it is now while you are young and healthy. Secondly, you are not invincible. According to the January 2017 SSA fact sheet, 1 in 4 people will be disabled before they reach retirement age.  A disability can occur for any number of reasons but in a doctors case it could be something as simple as a needle stick or a slip of the scalpel. Can you afford to loose your income even temporarily?

Most IDI plans have strong core benefits that can assist in protecting your income.   You can add additional riders so that your coverage tailored to match your specialty and budget.  Another common misconception is that your employer provided protection is all you need.  Group coverage is a terrific start to protecting income; however, unless supplemented, it will probably not be enough should you become disabled. A private disability insurance policy can help ensure that your income and ability to live comfortably and continue to pay your bills comfortable are adequately protected.

Some other reasons to consider supplementing group coverage include:

  • Benefit caps for the entire group often leave higher-earning employees with the least amount of disability income protection.
  • It is basic coverage and not individually owned which also means it is not portable should you decide to leave.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to comparing fact versus fiction regarding Individual Disability Insurance Protection.  The bottom line is you have worked too long and too hard to become a specialist in your field of medicine.  Don’t let something like a slip and fall cost you your financial security.

 

Travel, Travel, Travel

Do you like vacations? Well of course you do. The problem is that it is difficult to take one while living on a Resident’s budget. Whether your specialty is Anesthesia, Radiology, Emergency Medicine, Dermatology and all the others, you and I both know that vacation although necessary and desirable can put the pinch on your pocket book. The purpose of this blog today is to enlighten you on some of the many affordable options available so that you can get the much needed R&R at prices that won’t wreak havoc on your bank account and will allow you to enjoy that desired destination.
Let’s start with airfares. There are many wonderful sites out there built to help you take advantage of the deals and be your own travel agent.
1. Kayak.com is probably one of my favorites for finding flights if you have specific days to travel. It populates the carriers and schedules offered to your preferred destination. It also shows pricing and when you decide who you want to fly with simply click on the link and it takes you to their site. They also provide you with the option to shop through discount travel sites and compare pricing that way as well. The down side is they do not include smaller carriers like Southwest and Allegiant. So you may need to go to their sites to see available deals.
2. Momondo is another site that works much the same as Kayak you can set up alerts and search for the best timetables but with much more simplicity. You cannot buy directly from them but if you use it in conjunction with Kayak, you are certain to get the best deal all the way around. It only the airline sites and their timetables and pricing. Less complicated in my opinion.
3. Airfare watchdog is an excellent choice. You provide them with your desired trip information and they send you emails with the deals. This is a great option if you can be flexible. It searches through every airline to find you the biggest discounts on tickets for the cities you want to travel to the most.
4. Groupon, I know you probably never thought of them but let me tell you if you are flexible and do not want to do all the leg work they are a great source. When you go to the site click getaways to view the available options. and then choose from the options, they provide. However, it doesn’t stop there, they have your vacation all worked out you just have to choose where you want to go. The have fantastic last minute deals and if you click on the deal you like you can  see the additional trips offered by that vendor.
5. Hipmunk is another site that I personally like. They work much the same as everyone else but they have a neat little graph that shows you all the details of your flight and how long it will take. The will send you updates on your choices if prices drop.
I didn’t mention the most notable ones like Expedia, Orbitz and Tripadvisor because I’m guessing you are already familiar with them and how they work.
Now lets talk about hotels and auto rental. All of the sites I mentioned above will offer you the same options to check out the available deals on hotels and auto rentals. There are a few expection which I will mention here.
1. Trivago, just like the commercial says it sorts through thousands of available rooms to find you the best price at the location you want. Pretty simple.
2. Priceline is another great option. You can name your own price for a specific hotel and if it is accepted, you get the deal. They have a neat little thing called express deals. You cannot choose the hotel but if you know the area and the star rating you want, then you can snag yourself a nice hotel at a deeply discounted price.
3. Booking. Com is a nice option especially if you want to firm up a room a great rate but do not want to pay for it yet. They have a pay later and cancellation option but it will cost you more than if you pay now.
4. AutoSlash offers to find the best coupons, search multiple vendors, utilize you current memberships and re-book if the rate drops. They are rated #1 for auto rentals so why not look into them.
With So many great options available, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to snag that all-important vacation even on a resident’s limited budget. So get out there and see the world.
At Income Protection Specialist.com it is our goal to not only provide you with the best Disability Income Protection for your specialty but also help you plan for a secure financial future.  Give us a call and we will be happy to help you build a plan that has your goals and dreams in mind.

Are you Bleeding Money?

As a resident specializing in the field of Anesthesia, Emergency Medicine, Oncology, Dermatology or any of them really you are now earning upward of $50,000 annually.  Fantastic but do you find yourself scrambling to figure out where your paycheck went at the end of the month?  If so, you are not alone.  According to the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) almost half of you say that your expenses are either the same or greater than your incomes.  That is a rather startling figure.

They also go on to say that, well over half of you are struggling financially.  For many of you the cause is mounting school debt compounded by monthly living expenses.  There are additional costs that you can control zapping your wallet.  You know what they are (admit it or not).  Those trips to the coffee shop, impulse purchases when you only went in for 1 or 2 items, water bottles, dining out too much the list goes on.  All this may seem elementary but sometimes we need to take a hard look in the mirror and recognize that we can effect positive financial change for ourselves with some simple alterations.  Here are some tips to help you start keeping more of what you make.

  1. Stop buying water bottles. Get a Britta or the like and take your water with you.
  2. Start making your coffee at home. I know you don’t have time in the morning.  Get a thermos make it the night before and it will be hot and ready in the morning.
  3. Treat yourself to eating dining out every so often the same goes for drinks at the bar.
  4. Negotiate a better rate for your cellular, and cable providers.

When you thing about it I am sure you can come up with a list of your own.  Small changes now will go a long way toward giving you financial peace of mind.  Not only that but you won’t have to wonder where your money went at the end of each month.   At Income Protection Specialist we have spent over 30 years helping young physicians not only protect themselves from the financial effects of a disability but we also set up plans that enable you to begin building a secure financial future.

The Ultimate Business Overhead Protection Cheat Sheet

Hi to all of you out there I am sure by now your summer is in full swing.  Many of you are preparing to begin your residencies as specialists in Anesthesia, Neurosurgery, Emergency Medicine, Radiology and the numerous other medical specialties and many of you are entering into private practice.  By now you should have already invested in your most valuable asset and purchased the best disability coverage for your income protection.  If you have not what are you waiting for?  Ok enough with the lecture today I want to talk about Business Overhead Expense Disability Insurance.  You are probably thinking ok but I am not going into my own practice right now or maybe never. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t understand what it is.  You never know what the future holds or if one of your colleagues will benefit from this information.  Lets get started.

Business Overhead Expense Insurance is a type of disability coverage that enables you to maintain your business as a specialist in Radiology in the event that you become disabled.  It covers the expenses for your Anesthesia practice until you are able to return or make alternate arrangements because you are permanently disabled.

What is covered?

  • Most staff salaries (except you or other physicians)
  • Accounting and Legal Fees
  • Mortgage Interest or Rent
  • Business Insurance Premiums
  • Depreciation of Business owned Equipment
  • Normal and Customary Fixed Expenses (utilities, cable, phone etc..)
  • Professional Dues
  • Property Taxes

Important definitions you should understand

  • Waiting Period – shorter than personal coverage 30,60,90 days are available and should be chosen.  30 days is the most common
  • Benefit Period – The period of time your coverage will pay.  Traditionally 12 months is sufficient which allows adequate recovery time or sale and liquidation of the business.  18 and 24 months are also available.
  • Renewable – Your plan should be non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable( as long as you pay your premiums)
  • Future Increase Option (FI) – Provided you the insured the opportunity to purchase additional benefits in the future without a medical exam.  However you must prove your financial insurability.

One more important feature is that your premiums are a tax deductible business expense.

Ok so that is about it in a nutshell.  At this point you have enough information to understand the value of Business Overhead Expense Protection should you ever need it.  For more detail and options available contact us at Income Protection Specialist and we will make sure you and your business are covered with the right policy and protection.

 

Should You Rent or Should You Buy?

So you are thinking about buying a home/condo. That is the American dream right? White picket fence, friendly neighbors, good schools, perfectly manicured lawns even a membership to your local country club. Whoa Nelly! First you need to make sure you know the basic differences before you jump in with both feet. The list below itemizes some of the expenses that you will be responsible for if you own.  Many are included in your rent if you live in an apartment.  It is a good idea to think about these when you are considering whether to rent or buy.

  • Basics: Renting(offers no future financial advantages) or Owning (builds equity and credit)
  • Payment:  Fixed monthly in an apartment versus Fixed or Flexible Mortgage
  • Utilities: Gas, Electric, Water, Sewer, Trash pick up(can be included in rent)
  • Cable/Internet: (can be included in rent) 
  • Maintenance (painting, lightbulbs, lawn care) all are at the owners expense.  Generally included when renting
  • Property Taxes
  • Fitness facilities/Pool/Lake etc. (usually part of HOA dues if available in neighborhood)
  • Homeowners Association (if in a neighborhood with one) you pay monthly fee for maintenance, security, pool care etc…

This list might seem a little elementary to you but the reality is that on a Resident’s income of around $200,000 during a 4 year residency it can be quite eye opening. Here are some simple numbers that might help you in making an educated decision. We are going to base our estimated figures on a Medical Resident living in the central Mid-West. Such as Indiana, Ohio, Michigan etc. If you can expect to earn around $200,000 during that four year term you can also expect to pay around $50,000 in taxes (given the current tax system). Now you have only $150,000 left no problem right? Ok, but how about that $1500 a month rental fee? Now we are down about $72,000. Which leaves you a mere $78,000 or $19,500 a year to live on. That’s what is left over. Your car payment, auto insurance, and student loans have to come out of that and you’ve got to eat something and put clothes on your back. $19,500 equals about $1625 a month. Not a lot to play with is there? So now you’ve got the picture