Workers Compensation rate changes & good news for health care professionals

News

Workers Compensation rate changes & good news for health care professionals

By Brian Fowler, WisMed Assure Account Director

Starting October 1, 2022, Workers’ Compensation rates in Wisconsin will drop for the seventh year in a row. Unlike many other states, Work Comp rates in Wisconsin are set by the state and are the same for every insurance carrier. The decrease is 8.47% over all employee classifications. Physician rates are relatively low, though higher when hospital employees, but still much lower than hospital employees other than professional employees (see the chart below).  

The following chart shows the current and new rates for the listed class codes (rates are per $100 of payroll):

CodeDescriptionCurrent RatesNew Rates 10/1/2022Change
8832Physician & Clerical0.310.28– 9.7%
8833Hospital Professional Employees0.860.82– 4.7%
9040Hospital All Other Than Professional5.084.24– 16.5%

Slight changes were also made to minimum premiums for experience rating, increases in annual remuneration to calculate premiums for sole proprietors and partners and increases in the maximum remuneration for executive officers.

Another difference in how Workers’ Compensation is governed in Wisconsin is there is not a set fee schedule for medical services provided. The Wisconsin Medical Society has long advocated to keep Wisconsin from adopting a Work Comp fee schedule.

Mark Grapentine, Wisconsin Medical Society Chief Policy and Advocacy Officer and a medical liaison to the Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council, told Wisconsin Health News that the current system gets workers back on the job faster and more satisfied with their health care than in other states.

“The news of yet another significant decrease in rates is good news across the board,” he said.

He called the state’s current workers’ compensation system a “national model” that provides injured workers easy access to high quality care. Though he noted that Wisconsin can do better when it comes to its workplace injury rate, and getting that below the national average would be a win-win for everyone.

If you have questions about Workers’ Compensation coverage rates and dividend programs for your practice, please contact Brian Fowler, WisMed Assure Account Director, at brian.fowler@wismedassure.org 608.442.3718.

Fall 2022 Issue

Do you have the old or the new life insurance?

By Tom Strangstalien, Insurance Advisor

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month and is the time when I urge all our members to take a moment to reflect on the life insurance protection they have in place. Not too long ago, life insurance (especially term life), was generally viewed as a commodity.

Read more…


Build your financial wisdom

By Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF®, Senior Advisor, WisMed Financial

Join us for online educational sessions presented by WisMed Financial exclusively for Wisconsin Medical Society members. Session topics include retirement planning, social security and tax planning.

Read More…


Open enrollment

By Chris Noffke, GBDS, CSFS, Vice President of Employee Benefits

We’re rapidly approaching autumn and it’s time to start thinking about your open enrollment. Many companies fail to properly do an open enrollment, or maybe it’s your first time.

Read More…


Workers’ Compensation rate changes & good news for health care professionals

By Brian Fowler, WisMed Assure Account Director

Starting October 1, 2022, Workers’ Compensation rates in Wisconsin will drop for the seventh year in a row. Unlike many other states, Work Comp rates in Wisconsin are set by the state and are the same for every insurance carrier. The decrease is 8.47% over all employee classifications.  

Read more


$111,000 more from Social Security

By Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF®, Senior Advisor, WisMed Financial

With more than 2,700 rules and 567 separate filing strategies for Social Security, 96% of people fail to make the optimal claiming decision and miss out on $111,000 of benefits for the average household.

$111,000 – that’s a lot of money. Let’s look at some of the rules for Social Security so your decision is better informed.

Read More…


How to prevent floods from damaging your business

photo of cars on a flooded road

By Society Insurance Team, reposted with permission from Society Insurance

The continued impact of extreme weather events isn’t lost on businesses: according to one report, businesses can expect to see roughly $13 billion in flood damage in 2022. Tornados, derechos, and severe thunderstorms all threaten billions in damage, but with spring just ahead, let’s focus on how you can protect your business from the threat of flooding.

Businesses everywhere are susceptible to flood damage—so how can they prepare?

Read more…


Do you have the old or the new life insurance?

Tom Strangstalien

By Tom Strangstalien, Insurance Advisor

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month and is the time when I urge all our members to take a moment to reflect on the life insurance protection they have in place. Not too long ago, life insurance (especially term life), was generally viewed as a commodity. All policies were generally the same, so you simply bought the desired amount of coverage for the least expensive cost. Today’s New Life Insurance contains several bells and whistles well worth consideration and begs the question whether you should keep your old life insurance or upgrade to the new and improved model.

So, what are these new improvements that may benefit you and your family or your overall estate and financial plan? The major upgrades include protection for a critical illness, long term care protection and a living benefits or accelerated death benefit rider to the policy. All provide security that goes well beyond a payment to beneficiaries upon death.

If you elect a critical illness rider on your policy, the policy will pay either a lump sum payment or periodic payments upon sustaining a serious illness among a list of health conditions. These can include things like heart attack, coronary bypass events, cancer, kidney disease, stroke and various other neurological disorders. In other words, the life insurance proceeds can potentially be paid out while you’re living.

Another critical consideration when purchasing a life policy today is inclusion of long-term care protection. A long-term care event can devastate a financial plan. The premise is that since the life insurance amount will be paid out in the future (if the policy remains in force), and the amount of the proceeds is known, so why not allow the proceeds to also be paid for long-term care? It’s never too early to purchase long-term care protection! Placing a long-term care policy while young dramatically lowers the cost. So why not incorporate it into your life insurance policies? If you’re unable to perform a respective number of “activities of daily living,” you’re qualified to receive the life insurance benefits for payment of long-term care expenses. The life insurance amount will be paid out in the form of a payment to your beneficiaries or for costs associated with long-term care. It’s a win-win!

Lastly, many policies today include an accelerated death benefit provision, where if you would be unfortunately diagnosed by a physician to have a designated timeframe to live or are unable to perform activities of daily living, you qualify to receive benefits while you are living. How fortunate to be able to direct the life insurance proceeds as you see fit while you are alive! Many times, the cost of this benefit rider is zero.

As you can see, there are substantial benefits to upgrading to a policy containing the new available options. Please reach out to me and my team at WisMed Assure at insurance@wismedassure.org, complete this online form or call 866.442.3810 to explore upgrading your life insurance to the New Life Insurance.

How to prevent floods from damaging your business

By Society Insurance Team, reposted with permission from Society Insurance

The continued impact of extreme weather events isn’t lost on businesses: according to one report, businesses can expect to see roughly $13 billion in flood damage in 2022. Tornados, derechos, and severe thunderstorms all threaten billions in damage, but with spring just ahead, let’s focus on how you can protect your business from the threat of flooding.

Businesses everywhere are susceptible to flood damage—so how can they prepare? Below, we’ll cover five flood-readiness essentials that your business should consider.

Use Natural Landscaping Techniques Around Your Business

Large paved areas such as surface parking lots collect water, and only have limited areas for drainage. Plus, if your community is flooding, these drains in your parking lot may be overwhelmed to a point where they aren’t helpful. Surrounding your building with a variety of shrubs, natural grass or bushes can help absorb excess water during floods.

Rain gardens, for example, are a type of landscaping that collects runoff rainwater. They can divide parking lots, flank walkways or be embedded into grassy areas. Additionally, incorporating an appropriate mulch into landscaping around your business can help protect your business’ foundation and exterior by slowing and absorbing water.

A rain garden divides a street and a walkway. Photo via EPA

 

Make Sure Your Gutters Are Clear

You should clean your gutters twice a year, and spring is one of the best times to do so. Cleaning your gutters ensures they’re clear of debris that could prevent proper drainage. If your gutters aren’t clear, water can collect on your roof or in the gutters themselves, weighing them down and potentially causing costly damage to your building. 

Don’t forget that directing your downspouts and drains away from your business’ foundation is just as important as clearing your gutters of debris. When high volumes of storm water is draining from your gutters, it should be diverted away from your building. If it pools at the base of your building, it can cause significant damage to your building’s foundation. 

Flood-Proof Your Building’s Most Susceptible Areas

The lowest point of elevation in your building should ideally be above the highest point expected in a flood. By learning your building’s base flood elevation (BFE), you can identify the areas of your business that are most vulnerable to floods. From there, you can determine what flood-proofing techniques will be most beneficial depending on your property’s level of risk.

If there are important areas below your BFE, dry floodproofing techniques can involve impenetrable barriers, plates or coatings that prevent flood water from entering your property. On the other hand, wet floodproofing is a technique where highly-durable areas are designed to allow water through, in effect creating a path of least resistance in order to protect your property. 

Dry floodproofing (top) and wet floodproofing (bottom) shown in a residential setting. Illustrations courtesy of FEMA. 

Shore Up Your Foundation

Floods or torrential rainfalls can cause significant damage to your foundation. Water is incredibly powerful; when it seeps into your building, it can expand existing cracks and displace walls. Overall, when a building is subjected to flowing or standing water, the structural integrity can be damaged, leading to burdensome repair or rebuild costs.

Use caulk and other sealants to ensure the locations where pipes enter your building are sealed. Consider hiring a contractor to assess and restore existing damage in your basement or foundation before spring thaws or floods. 

Use Water Detection Devices

Water detection devices can monitor moisture levels around your building. If there’s flooding, they can alert you to areas where water is seeping in so you can triage these places and protect anything that could be damaged before it’s too late.

Be Prepared to Weather the Storms

Spring is a time of new beginnings but it’s also a time of risk: melting snow unable to be absorbed by the still-frozen ground, heavy seasonal rains, and other environmental factors can lead to Spring floods. Being prepared for these risks can be the difference between a profitable spring and a summer spent recovering from it.

Contact Brian Fowler, WisMed Assure Account Director, at 608.442.3718 for a quote or with any questions.

Reposted with permission from Society Insurance

$111,000 more from Social Security

By Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF®, Senior Advisor, WisMed Financial

Mark Ziety

With more than 2,700 rules and 567 separate filing strategies for Social Security, 96% of people fail to make the optimal claiming decision and miss out on $111,000 of benefits for the average household.1

$111,000 – that’s a lot of money. Let’s look at some of the rules for Social Security so your decision is better informed.

  • Normal benefits: Benefits can be claimed between ages 62 and 70. The longer you wait, the larger your check. However, the increase is not linear. In fact, the growth is backloaded thereby encouraging people to delay.
change in benefit amounts from ages 62 to 70
  • Spousal benefits: Married people can claim a spousal benefit worth up to 50% of their spouse’s full retirement age benefit if it’s larger than their own and their spouse has started their benefit. As above, spousal benefits are reduced before full retirement age. However, they do not increase after full retirement age.
  • Divorced benefits: Divorced spouses can also claim a spousal benefit if the marriage lasted at least ten years and they are unmarried at the time they file for spousal benefits.
  • Survivor’s benefits: Spouses and surviving divorced spouses can receive the deceased spouse’s benefit starting at age 60 if the marriage was at least nine months (married) or ten years (divorced).
  • Withheld benefits: Benefits may be withheld if you are under full retirement age and still working. Once you reach full retirement age, the amount will be recalculated to include previously withheld amounts.
  • Taxable benefits: 0% to 85% of Social Security benefits may be included in taxable income. The higher your total income, the more of your Social Security you’ll owe tax on.

Optimizing Social Security also requires coordination with retirement investments, something most Social Security calculators omit. For instance, if you retire at age 65 and delay Social Security until age 70, you’ll spend your retirement investments while you wait. It may make sense to start Social Security earlier, even though the amount is less, allowing you to preserve your investment nest egg.

For many people, it’s wise to get professional help to determine the optimal timing for Social Security. Get it right and it could be worth $111,000.

The Social Security Timing Guide in our resources has even more details. Or, for one-on-one help schedule an appointment.

For personalized help eliminating debt, investing smart and securing retirement, please contact Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF® 608.442.3750.

1. The retirement solution hiding in plain sight. InvestmentNews. (2020, June 12). Retrieved August 4, 2022, from https://www.investmentnews.com/whitepapers/the-retirement-solution-hiding-in-plain-sight

Build your financial wisdom

By Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF®, Senior Advisor, WisMed Financial

Mark Ziety

Join us for online educational sessions presented by WisMed Financial exclusively for Wisconsin Medical Society members. Session topics include retirement planning, social security and tax planning. Be sure to register – the replay and materials will be provided even if you miss the live event.

Social Security; $111,000 More

September 9 from 12:00-12:30 p.m.

  • Ideal for anyone age 59 and over who has not filed for Social Security
  • With more than 2,700 rules and 567 separate filing strategies, 96% of people fail to make the optimal claiming decision and miss out on $111,000 of benefits for the average household1
  • Uncover various claiming strategies whether single, married, widowed or divorced
  • Optimize Social Security timing

Medicare Open Enrollment

October 19 from 12:00-12:30 p.m.

  • Ideal for anyone age 65 or older
  • The A, B, C and D puzzle of Medicare
  • Pros and cons of original Medicare versus Medicare Advantage
  • Wisconsin Medicare supplements are unique compared to other states
  • Tips when shopping for a policy

Year-end Tax Planning Workshop

November 18 from 12:00-12:30 p.m.

  • Ideal for everyone
  • This is a hands-on workshop, so bring your 2021 tax return
  • Review key tax numbers
  • Adjust your taxable income and deductions for 2022, 2023 and beyond

6 Keys to Retirement Success

January 20 from 12:00-12:45 p.m.

  • Ideal for anyone approaching or in retirement
  • Social Security benefits
  • Bridging the health insurance gap between early retirement and Medicare
  • Generating income from investments
  • Identifying a long-term care plan with or without insurance
  • Estate plan considerations
  • Optimizing the retirement tax bracket drop and rebound

To register, click here.

For personalized help eliminating debt, investing smart and securing retirement, please contact Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF® 608.442.3750.

1. The retirement solution hiding in plain sight. InvestmentNews. (2020, June 12). Retrieved August 4, 2022, from https://www.investmentnews.com/whitepapers/the-retirement-solution-hiding-in-plain-sight

Spring 2022 Issue

Is Your Group Disability Insurance Good Enough?

By Tom Strangstalien, Insurance Advisor

May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month. This is the perfect time to evaluate your disability protection, determining if you’re adequately covered and address any potential holes or gaps in your coverage. A common theme I hear when talking with our members is, “I have disability insurance coverage as part of my employee benefits, so do I really need personal disability protection?” For physicians and medical professionals, the answer is almost always yes!

Read more…


HSA – The Triple Attack!

Health Savings Account imagery

By Chris Noffke, GBDS, Vice President of Employee Benefits

As many independent physicians know, health insurance costs are high – and keep climbing! To help alleviate some of these increases, we suggest using strategies like Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Health Reimbursement Accounts/Arrangements (HRA). The IRS recently published the approved contributions and plan allowances for HSAs in 2023, and things are changing.

Read More…


Your Life Has Only 3 Planning Scenarios

Human hand reaching through torn yellow paper sheet showing number three

By Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF®, Senior Advisor, WisMed Financial

You’ll either have a long life, health problems along the way or a short life. That’s it.

Plan for those three situations whether you’re single, married, with or without kids and most of your planning is done. Let’s look at how to plan for each.

Read More…


Cyber Incidents on the Rise

Ransomware on a laptop screen. Cyber Crime concept.

As noted in the Winter 2022 Antidote article exploring cyber liability trends, cyber incidents are on the rise – ransomware especially. The Sophos State of Ransomware 2022 report found that…

Read more…


What is Inflation Guard?

Money is flying away by the inflation bubble and employees are trying to prevent it.

By Society Insurance Team

In 2021, we’re seeing a unique economic environment. Supply chains have been affected by the pandemic and a few industries experienced weather-related setbacks. This, along with the new challenge of a labor shortage, is not allowing supply to keep up with demand, which leads to inflation.

Read More…


WisMed Assure, Society Name Michael Flesher New CEO

Michael Flesher

The Wisconsin Medical Society Board of Directors has named Michael Flesher as its CEO. Mr. Flesher will also serve as the CEO of Wisconsin Medical Society Holdings Corporation, which includes WisMed Assure. Starting June 6, Mr. Flesher will replace Bud Chumbley, MD, who is retiring after five years as CEO.

Read more…


What is Inflation Guard?

By Society Insurance Team in 2021, reposted with permission from Society Insurance

In 2021, we’re seeing a unique economic environment. Supply chains have been affected by the pandemic and a few industries experienced weather-related setbacks. This, along with the new challenge of a labor shortage, is not allowing supply to keep up with demand, which leads to inflation.

Lumber is a relevant example and a commodity that has a significant impact on the cost of claims. The cost of claims in 2021 is significantly more than the cost of claims in recent years. This increase may subside quickly, however, economists believe inflation will persist.

What is Inflation Guard?

Inflation Guard is the automatic annual increase in property values on an insurance policy to keep up with rising costs of construction. It provides carriers with adequate premium to pay for losses and provides policyholders with protection against coinsurance penalties if a coinsurance requirement exists. Many insurance carriers apply an annual 4% Inflation Guard increase. If values don’t keep up with the pace of inflation, insurance premiums will eventually have to take a steeper spike upward.

What is Coinsurance?

Coinsurance language in a policy gives an insurance company the right to reduce the amount of a claim payment if the amount of insurance purchased was inadequate.

What Does This Mean for Policyholders & Insurance Agents? 

Policyholders could be underinsured at the time of total loss and find themselves with significant out-of-pocket costs in order to return to normal operations. If a partial loss occurs and the carrier imposes a coinsurance or underinsured penalty, the policyholder would also experience out-of-pocket costs. If the above occurs, there may be errors and omissions lawsuits against the insurance agent.

Does Society Insurance Include Inflation Guard in Policies?

Society Insurance does include Inflation Guard and does not include coinsurance or underinsured penalties in their policies. This provides protection for both policyholders and agents from some of the challenges in managing property values. Maintaining adequate values on insurance policies is critical. Inflation Guard – and annual conversations between insurance agents and policyholders – can fend off trouble.

Contact Brian Fowler, WisMed Assure Account Director, at 608.442.3718 for a quote or with any questions.

Reposted with permission from Society Insurance

WisMed Assure, Society name Michael Flesher new CEO

Michael Flesher
Michael Flesher

The Wisconsin Medical Society Board of Directors has named Michael Flesher as its CEO. Mr. Flesher will also serve as the CEO of Wisconsin Medical Society Holdings Corporation, which includes WisMed Assure. Starting June 6, Mr. Flesher will replace Bud Chumbley, MD, who is retiring after five years as CEO.

With more than twenty years of leadership experience, Mr. Flesher brings a wealth of experience as an association leader. He has served as the Executive Vice President and CEO of the Iowa Medical Society (IMS) since 2017, and has also been Pfizer’s Director of Strategic Medical Alliances and the American Medical Association’s Director of Resident and Fellow Services.

Jerry Halverson, MD, chair of the Society’s Board of Directors and co-chair of the search committee said, “With well-rounded expertise in association financial management, governance and innovation, Mike is the right person to take our organization to the next level of influence and change. Coupled with an extensive network of contacts in national and state medical societies, he will bring leadership and advocacy skills to grow membership and diversify revenue streams.”

“I am honored to join the Wisconsin Medical Society as CEO,” Mr. Flesher said. “Moving forward, I plan to rely on the continued participation and support of Wisconsin’s strong physician community, so we can be assured that the Society will continue to grow in supporting and strengthening physicians’ ability to practice high-quality patient care.”

With strong family ties here, Mike and his family are excited to make Wisconsin their new home.

Mr. Flesher is the ninth Society CEO in its more than 180-year history.