Spring 2021 Issue

News

Spring 2021 Issue

Data Interoperability is Here: Threat or Opportunity? It’s Your Choice!

Physicians and health plans will soon be sharing data electronically with patients and each other

By Shawna Bertalot, CIC, ACI – WisMed Assure President

During a webinar presented by OnRamp Healthcare and Onyx Health titled “CMS Blue Button: Physician scoring – kick start your awareness”, Mark Scrimshire, Onyx Chief Interoperability Officer, said, “Consumers will have control of their data and therefor their healthcare – there is nothing to stop them from giving their data to an organization that has the goal of determining the actual cost of care.”

He also said, “If you don’t get in the game, you won’t be in the business.”

That’s one point of view. Here’s another; as value-based care plays an ever-larger role in how you are paid, interoperability will allow you to query health plans quick and easily for patient coverage data and the information you need to provide best care possible.

One thing is for sure; the more you know about Blue Button 2.0 and the impact it will have on your ability to succeed in your career, the better off you will be. To get the jump on this, to “get in the game”, make sure you plan to attend this year’s OnRamp Healthcare virtual conference on August 19th. See the article below for more information and to register.

Read more…


Term Life Insurance Is All the Same… Or Is It?

By Tom Strangstalien, Insurance Advisor

Kelly had just suffered a life- threatening stroke at 57 years old. Her prognosis was uncertain, and at the very least she was looking at months of recovery. She took comfort in the fact that she had purchased a one-million-dollar term life insurance policy when she was 37 years old to protect her family and to leave a lasting legacy.

Read More…


Tax Season is the Best Season to Take Care of Your Finances

By Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF®, senior advisor, WisMed Financial

If you want to get ahead and stay ahead when it comes to taking full advantage of all your financial opportunities, consider these tips:

Read more…


Be Aware – COBRA and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

By:  Chris Noffke, GBDS, VP of Employee Benefits

I have been keeping my finger on the pulse of all thing’s related to employee benefits and this is one I find very important for you all to know, especially for employers who qualify for COBRA coverage (have 20 or more employees).

Read More…


Ins and Outs of Property Insurance

By: Laura Heil Kinart – Account Director

Have you ever wondered…

  • What your retroactive date actually is?
  • What’s the difference between Claims Made and Occurrence? 
  • What Directors and Officers Insurance is… and if your practice needs it?

Read more…


How to Get Super Quick Life Insurance

By David Serena, Insurance Advisor

If you’re one of those busy Residents who wants to purchase life insurance but just can’t find the time, there is a new program just for you.

The program is called “Bestow”, a word similar in meaning to “awarding” or “honoring” someone with something. In this case, you are honoring someone you love by insuring your life.

Read More…


The Leading Conference for Healthcare Innovation

August 19, 2021| Virtual

The OnRamp Healthcare Conference brings together corporations, investors, startups and members of the health care team. The conference highlights innovations disrupting health care and the future of medicine, the health care leaders making such innovations possible and how new technologies and business models will reinvent the industry. Determined to lower cost, increase access and improve outcomes, OnRamp Healthcare is for anyone striving to change healthcare for the better.

Read more


New Faces

Here at WisMed Assure we pride ourselves on creating a sense of family for all of our team. And, what better way to celebrate family than adding new members!

Read More…

Data Interoperability is Here: Threat or Opportunity? It’s Your Choice!

Physicians and health plans will soon be sharing data electronically with patients and each other

By Shawna Bertalot, CIC, ACI – WisMed Assure President

They say point of view is everything. Especially when it comes to your success as a physician in an environment of rapid, relentless and disruptive technological change.

In the past decade, the implementation of EHR in most hospitals and medical systems has changed how you do your job. From one point of view, the administrative burden has been crushing, from another, realizing the promise of immediate access to accurate patient records has been well worth the struggle.

You could say healthcare as a whole, thanks to EHR and other data sources, no longer has a patient data problem. Now, again depending on your point of view, you might say healthcare has a data interoperability problem. That is certainly the view taken by CMS as it prepares to take its Blue Button 2.0 to the next phase; health plans and providers will soon be required by federal law to share data electronically with each other and with patients.

But, what is your point of view? Think about the implications for you, your practice, and/or the healthcare provider you work for as Blue Button 2.0 provides “… a developer-friendly, standards-based data Application Programming Interface (API) that enables beneficiaries to connect their Medicare claims data to the applications, services, and research programs they trust.”

From my point of view, the one word that stands out in this quote from the CMS website is “trust”. I believe, and I am certain the vast majority of physicians and other healthcare providers and leaders also believe, that trust is the essential ingredient in the provider/patient relationship.

Will that essential bond of trust be strengthened or weakened when patients have access to all their medical data on their smart phones? What will happen to that trust when developers create apps that enable patients to compare costs and care outcomes across the entire spectrum of options available to them? Who will patients trust well enough to give permission to access their data?

During a webinar presented by OnRamp Healthcare and Onyx Health titled “CMS Blue Button: Physician scoring – kick start your awareness”, Mark Scrimshire, Onyx Chief Interoperability Officer, said, “Consumers will have control of their data and therefor their healthcare – there is nothing to stop them from giving their data to an organization that has the goal of determining the actual cost of care.”

He also said, “If you don’t get in the game, you won’t be in the business.”

That’s one point of view. Here’s another; as value-based care plays an ever-larger role in how you are paid, interoperability will allow you to query health plans quickly and easily for patient coverage data and the information you need to provide the best care possible.

One thing is for sure; the more you know about Blue Button 2.0 and the impact it will have on your ability to succeed in your career, the better off you will be. To get the jump on this, to “get in the game”, make sure you plan to attend this year’s OnRamp Healthcare virtual conference on August 19th. See the article below for more information and to register.

Other information sources for you to explore include:
CMS Blue Button 2.0
U.S. Digital Service
Patient Info on Medicare.gov
Onyx Health – Blue Button developer

New Faces

Here at WisMed Assure we pride ourselves on creating a sense of family for all of our team. And, what better way to celebrate family than adding new members!

Tom Strangstalien

Meet Tom Strangstalien, Insurance Advisor. Growing up on a family farm in Southwest Wisconsin, Tom learned the value of hard work. Beginning his career marketing individual health insurance plans, Tom developed a passion for individual finance and the role insurance plays in a well-designed financial plan. Bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience, Tom joined WisMed Assure in June of 2020 and has since been an asset and advocate for our members.


And, say hello to Janet Marszalek, RPLU, Senior Account Manager. Janet has over 35 years of experience in the insurance industry. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Upper Iowa University and is licensed in Wisconsin for Property and Casualty. Janet holds the RPLU designation (Registered Property Liability Underwriter) and has been a member of the Professional Liability Underwriting Society. Janet joined the WisMed Assure family in January 2021 and has already put her stamp on things here.

Our family is growing as we continue to be your financial partner for life.

The Leading Conference for Healthcare Innovation

August 19, 2021| Virtual

The OnRamp Healthcare Conference brings together corporations, investors, startups and members of the health care team. The conference highlights innovations disrupting health care and the future of medicine, the health care leaders making such innovations possible and how new technologies and business models will reinvent the industry. Determined to lower cost, increase access and improve outcomes, OnRamp Healthcare is for anyone striving to change healthcare for the better.

Sponsored by WisMed Assure and the Wisconsin Medical Society

The OnRamp Healthcare Conference features curated, one-on-one pitch sessions between selected startups and leading corporations, investors and accelerators to discuss potential customer relationships, strategic partnerships and, if appropriate, investment opportunities. Startups must apply, and one-on-one pitch sessions are scheduled based upon mutual interest. Participation is completely free for selected startups, and all Startup Track applicants will receive complimentary registration for the conference.

Who Should Attend?

STARTUPS

Apply for the free opportunity to meet one-on-one with participating healthcare innovation executives and investors at the 2021 OnRamp Healthcare Conference. Your application guarantees complimentary registration to the conference. The deadline to apply is June 18, 2021.

HEALTHCARE EXECUTIVES & INVESTORS

Registration packages for the OnRamp Healthcare Conference include access to conference programming, the full list of 300+ Startup Track applicants, curated one-on-one pitch meetings with startups of your choosing and potential speaking opportunities.

GENERAL ATTENDEES

Join the 500+ attendees including Corporate Venture Capital, Innovation, Strategy, Medical Officers, Business Development, Corporate Development, M&A, IT and C-suite executives for the speaking sessions and networking.

Click here for more information and to register

How to Get Super Quick Life Insurance

By David Serena, Insurance Advisor

If you’re one of those busy Residents who wants to purchase life insurance but just can’t find the time, there is a new option just for you.

The option is called “Bestow”, a word similar in meaning to “awarding” or “honoring” someone with something. In this case, you are honoring someone you love by insuring your life.

The entire process takes about 20 minutes. You go online, fill in some information, choose the amount of life insurance you feel is right, decide how long you want to be covered, get an instant quote, answer some questions, and stay tuned for a decision: yes or no.

If approved, the process continues; you pay the premium, and the contract gets sent to you … all done in very short order.

So, if you want to apply for coverage before you leave your Residency, just click on the following link: https://agent-quote.bestow.com/9cc822af

If you’re wondering how this can happen so fast, we can credit technology; with your authorization, Bestow pulls available data and uses algorithms in their decision process; amazingly fast.

I am your agent and get notified whether you are approved or not. I’m always available to answer your questions, but I will not be pestering you or trying to sell you something else. If you want, however, I can help you determine what amount and time frame is best for you.

If, for some reason, you don’t qualify for coverage with Bestow, I will follow up with you and find out your particular situation. We can oftentimes still get coverage using a more traditional process. And, if you explore the best options for protecting your financial future on a long-term basis, I can help.

Please note: this is “straight up, no frills, term life insurance which will pay in the event of a death from an illness or an injury. It is NOT accidental death insurance. It has no other waivers; converters; nor riders; just plain old term life insurance with a guaranteed monthly premium for the entire length of the term.

So, if you want some coverage now… NOW is the time to Bestow!

David Serena
The Physician’s Insurance Agent and Your Financial Partner for Life
Phone: (414) 238-6105
dave.serena@wismedassure.org

Wisconsin Medical Society Insurance & Financial Services is now WisMed Assure. Dave is in his 26th year of working with Residents for Life and Disability Insurance.


Life insurance quotes provided by Bestow Agency, LLC dba Bestow Insurance Services in CA, who is the licensed agent. Term Life Insurance Policies offered by Bestow are issued on policy form LS181 and LS182, or state version including all applicable endorsements and riders, by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance®, Administrative Office, One Sammons Plaza, Sioux Falls, SD 57193. Products or issues ages may not be available in all jurisdictions. Limitations or restrictions may apply. Not available in New York © Our application asks about your lifestyle and health to avoid requiring a medical exam.

Ins and Outs of Property Insurance

By: Laura Heil Kinart – Account Director

Have you ever wondered…

  • What your retroactive date actually is?
  • What’s the difference between Claims Made and Occurrence? 
  • What Directors and Officers Insurance is… and if your practice needs it?

A physician once told me he wished they had taught him about insurance in medical school, because when he opened his first practice, he had no clue what it all entailed. 

Between state requirements on coverage limits and policy types, and all the other options that are available but may not be right for your practice, the world of insurance can be difficult to navigate.

Starting in early May, I will be hosting a weekly video series, where I will help you understand the ins and outs of the property and casualty insurance.

Check out our Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn pages for more information in the upcoming weeks.

If there are any topics you’d like to see in the series, please let me know. 

Laura.Kinart@wismedassure.org

Be Aware – COBRA and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

By:  Chris Noffke, GBDS, VP of Employee Benefits

I have been keeping my finger on the pulse of all thing’s related to employee benefits and this is one I find very important for you all to know, especially for employers who qualify for COBRA coverage (have 20 or more employees).

As you are staying up to date with the changes occurring because of COVID, one of the major changes is regarding the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

This plan, or part of it, provides financial subsidies covering 100% of the cost for employees already on COBRA, and for employees who will become COBRA eligible due to reduction in hours or involuntary termination between the dates of 4.1.21 and 9.30.21. 

For more information please visit HR360 for detailed information. (HR360 is one of the many services WisMed Assure provides to our employee benefit clients.) 

We will continue to monitor this for you. As your financial partner for life, please know we are in constant contact with our legal and compliance partners and are always looking out for regulatory changes that may have an impact on your financial security.

Title: American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 – COBRA & Dependent Care FSA

President Joseph Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 on March 11th.  The bill contains two provisions affecting COBRA and the Dependent Care FSA.

COBRA: A full subsidy for COBRA premiums for COBRA qualifying beneficiaries when the qualifying event is involuntary termination of employment. In general, the subsidy will begin for coverage periods beginning on April 1, 2021 and ending on September 30, 2021 (Section 9501).

Dependent Care FSA: The limit for dependent care assistance plans will be increased from $5,000 to $10,500 for the 2021 calendar year (Section 9632).

I will continue to provide information as it becomes available.

Tax Season is the Best Season to Take Care of Your Finances

By Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF®, senior advisor, WisMed Financial

If you want to get ahead and stay ahead when it comes to taking full advantage of all your financial opportunities, consider these tips:

  • Get organized. Whether you create a formal net worth statement or jot down a summary for yourself, now is the time to figure out what you own and what you owe. This will also help with tax prep since you will have a list of accounts to quickly identify if you are missing a tax form.
  • Determine where to focus in 2021. Are you striving to pay off debt? Do you need to beef up your emergency fund, retirement accounts, or kids’ college savings? Have you been putting off purchasing insurance or drafting your will? Focusing on one item at a time won’t be overwhelming and you’ll see progress faster than trying to do everything at once.
  • Check in with your advisors. An annual checkup is worthwhile and may be required in some cases. For instance, annually recertifying your income with your student loan servicer is required for income driven repayment plans. It is a good idea to meet with your financial planner and insurance agent especially if you had a change in income, family size, or finances,
  • Make tax adjustments. If you have a big refund or big tax bill, adjust your withholding. If you will be in a high tax bracket in 2021, make pretax 401(k)/403(b) contributions otherwise make Roth 401(k)/403(b) contributions.

WisMed Financial and WisMed Assure are part of the Wisconsin Medical Society. WisMed Financial helps members save and invest for their future, eliminate debt, manage taxes, obtain legal documents like wills, utilize charitable strategies, and other personal financial matters.

Bring me your questions, I will be delighted to help you.

Contact me at

Mark.Ziety@WisMedFinancial.org
608-442-3750.

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Term Life Insurance Is All the Same… Or Is It?

Tom Strangstalien

By Tom Strangstalien, Insurance Advisor

Kelly had just suffered a life- threatening stroke at 57 years old. Her prognosis was uncertain, and at the very least she was looking at months of recovery. She took comfort in the fact that she had purchased a one-million-dollar term life insurance policy when she was 37 years old to protect her family and to leave a lasting legacy.

Comfort turned to despair when she discovered her policy was non-renewable at the end of the term period of twenty years. In fact, her coverage would end in one month; the month of her birthday. Through perseverance and focused determination, she would fight to recover to her former self, both physically and mentally. However, because she was now uninsurable, there was nothing she could do about having no life insurance.

Like many consumers, Kelly purchased her life insurance protection from a large brokerage firm where the prevailing perception was all policies are the same. This meant price was the predominant factor in choosing a policy and Kelly thought, “Why not go with the cheapest?”

Term life policies are not at all the same

Modern term insurance policies come with a variety of conditions and riders and each of these variables, must be considered when choosing a policy.

For example, renewability and convertibility are two options that may be extremely important to you. If Kelly’s policy was “guaranteed renewable”, she could have paid the adjusted premium at the end of the initial 20-year term and kept her policy in force.

If you choose a policy that is “convertible”, you can change it to a permanent insurance plan, within a designated timeframe, or at any time within the initial term period.

Both of these options can make a term life insurance policy slightly more expensive. There are also times when insurance companies offer guaranteed renewable and convertible term life insurance that is less expensive than their competitors. At WisMed Assure, as your financial partner for life, it is our job to research these contracts thoroughly when advising you on finding the very best coverage for your needs. Our loyalty is to you, and not to the insurance companies.

Riders: pay more to get more  

While shopping for a term life policy, there are many additions, or “riders”, to the base coverage to consider. Some of the more popular include disability waivers, disability income protection, accidental death protection, children’s insurance, and living benefits or long-term care protection.

Should you become disabled, a disability waiver will no longer require the you pay insurance premiums, and disability income protection can provide a monthly payment to you throughout a period of disability. Children’s insurance can place life insurance protection for one’s children under the same base policy, and an additional insured or other insured rider will place life insurance coverage in force on an added named individual. If death occurs as a result of an accident, the accidental death rider will increase the base amount of coverage. In many instances, the base amount will be doubled.

Due to the exploding costs of long term care, many modern policies now make a percentage of the life insurance benefit available to assist in paying these costs. Qualification is usual contingent on the inability to perform two or more activities of daily living or to be cognitively impaired for life.

Living benefits are also very popular, where benefits can be paid while one is alive, upon sustaining a life altering health condition such as a cardiac event, cancer, or a stroke.

A convertible policy works

Larry and his wife Dawn came into my office the other day. Dawn said, “Tom there is something we think you should know. Larry has been forgetting things lately so we talked to our doctor, and Larry has early stage Alzheimer’s.” 

After a conversation of comfort and empathy, our focus shifted to Larry’s life insurance policy. Since the policy was “convertible”, we decided to convert the coverage to a permanent plan which would be in force for Larry’s lifetime. We also discussed the policy’s living benefits rider, which, if Larry’s condition became too severe, benefits would be paid out while Larry was still alive to help Dawn in caring for Larry.

Not all term life insurance policies are created the same. In fact, it can be an intensive effort to design a policy for one’s budget that will provide needed benefits during a time of crisis. At WisMed Assure, our team of professionals are here for your well-being, and to create Larry and Dawn stories.