Innovation and improvements 

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

Chris Noffke

June marked my eighteenth year in the insurance industry; my entire career has been focused on employee benefits and helping clients save money and improve employee confidence in benefits. When I was asked to join the WisMed Assure team, I was given the chance to be innovative and truly build something the way I felt it should be and that’s exactly what my team and I are doing!

When I was hired in 2016, I was asked to help strengthen our employee benefits programs and services. At that time, we did not offer many services, nor did we provide a lot of in-depth consulting regarding health insurance. Now we have launched a new pooled Dental insurance plan with Delta Dental of Wisconsin, a pooled disability plan, an association health plan with WPS and The Alliance and added a dozen new services and assessments. We continue to add services and programs to provide the best coverage for our clients.

I am very excited to announce our next innovation. WisMed Assure will be adding a second Association Health Plan eligible for all health care companies in the Madison/Dane County area. Our new Association Health Plan will offer Group Health Cooperative (GHC) of South-Central Wisconsin as the insurance carrier, providing access to GHC clinics and all the UW Health clinics in Dane County plus UW hospital. This benefit offering will be available starting on September 1, 2023. We are proud to have an additional plan option that will better serve our clients in Dane County and surrounding areas.

This option provides HMO rates to our members and those of the health care community. If you’ve ever thought, “We’re a low utilizing group, we don’t really use our health care,” this is a great opportunity to explore. These plans are medically underwritten and can provide a glimpse into your company’s utilization.

If you would like to see how our rates look, please email me at or call 608.442.3734. Wishing you the best of your remaining summer!

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as insurance advice related to your specific policy or situation. Please consult with a qualified insurance advisor or professional before making any policy decisions. Full disclaimer and contact information.

You bet your life

By Mary Krueger, Medicare Specialist

Most of us don’t spend our time concerned about our life insurance because it’s “set up” already through our employer, parents, bank or other sources. Have you really investigated how life insurance works? Is term insurance the best purchase or should you look at long term cost averaging?

Over the years, I have watched clients who are over 60 years old try to figure out what to do now that their term insurance is coming to an end and want to “just extend it.” When the option of paying dramatically increasing premiums doesn’t look very good for the budget, what to do is a significant concern.

So, what are the options other than term insurance at a young age? Consider a universal life or whole life policy. The costs are averaged over your lifetime instead of just a specified number of years. This idea takes the surprises out of trying to find coverage at an older age or at a time when your health has changed and you’re not eligible for coverage any longer. Ideally, doing a combination of both a term and universal/whole life makes sense if you’re looking to save more money in the long run.

To discuss your options, contact Mary Krueger at 715.760.1350 or

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as insurance advice related to your specific policy or situation. Please consult with a qualified insurance advisor or professional before making any policy decisions. Full disclaimer and contact information.

Worker’s Compensation rate decreases

By Brian Fowler, WisMed Assure Account Director

Starting October 1, 2023, for the eighth consecutive year, Worker’s Compensation rates in Wisconsin will drop. Worker’s Comp rates in Wisconsin are set by the state and are the same for every insurance carrier. Overall, we’re seeing a decrease of 8.4% across all employee classifications. Physician rates remain low and competitive, with no change to the rates this year. Rates have decreased for physicians within hospital systems and hospital employees other than professional employees.

WisMed Assure also works with dentists and non-physician owned medical professional offices, like chiropractors, therapists and others; many of which share this same classification (8832) (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 10/1/2023Change
8832Physician & Clerical0.280.28 0%
8833Hospital Professional Employees0.820.76– 7%
9040Hospital All Other Than Professional4.243.61– 14.9%

This year there is no change to minimum premiums for experience rating. We see approximately a $4,000 increase in annual remuneration to calculate premiums for sole proprietors and partners and roughly a $7,000 increase in the maximum annual remuneration used for executive officers.  

Because Wisconsin sets the rates, premiums should be the same regardless of the insurance carrier, the differentiator in overall costs between carriers comes down to who is offering the most competitive dividend plan. When employees are injured, good claims services and getting employees healthy and back to work is the key benefit to any Worker’s Compensation program.

Another difference in how Worker’s 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 Worker’s Comp fee schedule.

Mark Grapentine, Wisconsin Medical Society Chief Policy and Advocacy Officer, serves as a medical liaison to the Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council, a group made up of representatives of management and employees and charged with recommending changes to the state’s Worker’s Compensation system on a two-year basis. 

He noted the rates are “certainly good news for businesses” and that they are happening at a time when Wisconsin leads the nation in getting workers back on the job. Injured workers in the state are satisfied with how quickly they can get access to high-quality health care, he said.

“It’s really no wonder why so many folks in other states look very jealously at how Wisconsin’s work comp. system performs,” he wrote in an email to Wisconsin Health News.

If you have questions about Worker’s Compensation coverage rates and dividend programs for your practice, please contact Brian Fowler, WisMed Assure Account Director, at 608.442.3718.

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as insurance advice related to your specific policy or situation. Please consult with a qualified insurance advisor or professional before making any policy decisions. Full disclaimer and contact information.

The power of planning: a physician’s journey to financial wellness

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

Mark Ziety

With uncertainties and change a constant, financial planning stands as a beacon of security and peace of mind. Today, we bring you a remarkable story that sheds light on how a dedicated physician and her family reaped the rewards of a well-structured financial plan, proving that even the busiest of physicians can find stability and fulfillment through proper financial planning.

Meet Sarah Thompson, MD (alias, of course), known for her compassionate care and unwavering commitment to her patients. Outside the exam room, however, Dr. Thompson faced the same financial challenges that many of us do – managing student loans, planning for retirement and ensuring her family’s future stability.

The Initial Challenge

Upon completing her medical education, Dr. Thompson was burdened with significant student loan debt. Balancing her medical practice while managing these loans was no easy feat. She often found herself conflicted between her passion for healing and the pressure of financial obligations. As her family grew, so did her responsibilities, making her realize the need for a comprehensive financial plan.

The Turning Point: Seeking Professional Guidance

Dr. Thompson decided to take a proactive step and sought the guidance of a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional. This move marked a turning point in her journey towards financial wellness. The financial planner analyzed her situation, considering her income, expenses, outstanding loans and future goals. They collaboratively created a customized plan that addressed her specific needs, aligning her financial strategy with her life aspirations.

The Plan in Action

  • Debt Repayment Strategy: The financial planner helped Dr. Thompson switch to her ideal repayment plan for her student loans. She made consistent progress in reducing her debt without compromising her family’s daily needs.
  • Investment and Retirement Planning: With a steady income and a solid debt repayment plan in place, Dr. Thompson could now focus on long-term financial security. The financial planner introduced her to a diversified investment portfolio and guided her through retirement planning, ensuring she could enjoy her retirement years without financial stress. “In my experience, those who save smaller amounts consistently tend to save more over time than those who try to save everything at once,” Mark Ziety, CFP, founder of WisMed Financial notes in this CBS News article.
  • Family Protection: Recognizing the importance of safeguarding her family’s future, Dr. Thompson also secured:
    •  life insurance
    • disability insurance
    • estate documents
    • college accounts
    • an emergency fund

This provided a safety net in case of unforeseen circumstances and offered peace of mind to her and her loved ones.

  • Tax Strategy: The largest lifetime expense for physicians is often taxes, and Dr. Thompson was no exception. Through yearly tax strategy, her deductions were maximized and taxable income shifted to save hundreds of thousands of dollars of lifetime tax.

The Outcome: A Life Transformed

As the years went by, Dr. Thompson’s commitment to her financial plan began to yield remarkable results. She saw her debt steadily decrease, her investments grow and her family thrive with the knowledge that their future was secure. This transformation didn’t just impact her financial health – it positively influenced her overall well-being. The reduction of financial stress allowed her to focus more on her patients, her family and even take time for her own personal growth and hobbies.

Key Takeaway

Dr. Thompson’s story is typical for physicians and underscores the incredible potential that a well-crafted financial plan holds. Regardless of your profession or life circumstances, careful financial planning can pave the way to stability, allowing you to navigate challenges with confidence and pursue your dreams without compromise.

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

Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF®

WisMed Financial, Inc. part of the Wisconsin Medical Society

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as financial or tax advice. Please consult with a qualified financial advisor or tax professional before making any financial decisions. Full disclosures.

When and why to schedule a life and disability insurance policy review with your agent

By Lisa Koerner, Insurance Advisor

Many people think that once they have a life insurance or disability policy in place, they can file it away and forget about it. However, as your life changes, your needs often change as well. The policies that you took out when you were young, single and starting your career may not still cover your needs after you get married, buy a house, have children and start your dream job. As your life changes, it’s a good idea to review your policies.

One of the biggest changes that people often overlook throughout the years is updating the beneficiaries on their life insurance policies. When people are single, they often choose a parent or sibling as their beneficiary. It’s good to change your beneficiaries when you get married, get divorced or if your beneficiary passes away.

It’s also important to alert your insurance agent of contact information changes. If you move to a new home, city or state and don’t update your address you might miss important updates from your insurance company. I recently attempted to contact a client whose term life policy was coming to an end. The phone numbers we had on file were all unavailable, the email address was undeliverable and the letter I mailed to the address came back undeliverable.

The other thing to keep in mind is whether your Disability Policy is keeping up with your income. When you have a significant increase in income, it’s important to review your benefits to make sure you’re covered in the event of a serious injury or illness. If you only have enough disability insurance to cover half of your income, would you still be able to keep up with your bills and expenses if you’re not able to work for a long period of time?

Most people think that the only reason an insurance agent wants to talk to them is to sell them something, so they avoid scheduling a policy review. A good insurance agent will review with you where you are in your life and what your current needs are. When you’re younger, you may need to add coverage as you build your family and career. Meanwhile, you may need to reduce your insurance coverage as you move into retirement or change from term policies to permanent policies. As you approach retirement, it’s also a good time to start researching Medicare, long-term care and wealth transfer ideas. That’s what our Income Defense team at WisMed Assure is here to help you out with.

You may not feel that you need an insurance review every year, but don’t forget to review your policies when you have a significant change in your life.

Reach out to Lisa Koerner or the WisMed Assure team at, complete this quick online form or call 608.442.3810 for help with your insurance needs.

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as insurance advice related to your specific policy or situation. Please consult with a qualified insurance advisor or professional before making any policy decisions. Full disclaimer and contact information.

Group disability insurance can coordinate with individual policies 

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

Chris Noffke

Planning for the unexpected is the only way to protect yourself, your family, your business and your finances. Unfortunately, the death of a loved one or becoming disabled are often unexpected. If you no longer had an income, how would you and your family fare?

In 2023, the social security disability income payment is $914 monthly for individuals and $1,371 monthly for couples. Be aware that these benefits have a five month waiting period and processing times can be slow! Could your family manage for six months without income, or after the six months, would $1,371 even be enough? How long can you and your family live at these low income rates? 

Many physicians are good at making sure to buy an individual disability policy before finishing residency. This is a fantastic time to get a $5,000 disability benefit because you’re the youngest and most likely the healthiest you may ever be. But, when your income surges to more than $10,000 a month you would still be missing more than 50% of your standard income if you became disabled. Group policies can coordinate and offer additional reassurance that your income is protected. Plus, there are ways to make these disability income dollars tax free!

We have a variety of products exclusive to WisMed Assure that other agents don’t know about. Plus, we have experience protecting physicians. You would be surprised how often I find policies sold to physician groups that don’t protect you as a specialist or insure you for your exact physician role.

Please contact me at or call 608.442.3734 if you would like to learn more. 

WisMed Assure can assist you with your Medicare decisions

By Mary Krueger, Medicare Specialist

Many Medicare eligible participants are familiar with Medicare, but the process is confusing to them so we’re here to assist you with those issues. Here are the answers to some common questions.

Do I need to sign up for both Part A and B or just Part A? 

Whether you choose Part A, B or both depends on the plan you’re on, the benefits you’re looking for and if you have any spend down accounts that can be used. Checking all your options will save you money and find the coverage that suits your needs.

Is it really necessary to get a prescription drug program or can I skip it because I don’t use any prescriptions?

Great question! Even if you do not use any prescriptions, you are required to obtain credible coverage for prescription coverage. Without it, you will acquire a lifetime penalty.

I am already on a Medicare program. Is there any help you can give me?

Yes! We compare your coverages and costs. Perhaps you’ve moved and your new address has a favorable discount or you have increased needs for prescriptions; these issues and others are addressed either during your open enrollment period each fall or at your renewal. We do the shopping for you!

Click here to learn about income related monthly adjustment amount (IRMAA).

For help with your Medicare questions, contact Mary Krueger at 715.760.1350 or

Why purchase individual disability protection during residency

By Tom Strangstalien, Insurance Advisor

As a resident or fellow, your biggest asset is quickly becoming your ability to earn an income. Until you become independently wealthy and can sustain a loss of earning power without consequence, it is imperative that you have disability protection. But why do this as a resident or fellow, before the dramatic income increase of becoming an attending physician? Can you wait, get on your employer’s group plan if applicable and purchase supplemental personal disability insurance when you can better afford it? There are several reasons why this may not be the best choice as you build your overall financial plan.

During your medical residency or fellowship, you are entitled to a base amount of coverage without being required to provide proof of financial qualification. Additionally, WisMed Assure works with several insurers that provide discounts to many of the residency programs. Furthermore, Wisconsin Medical Society Members are eligible for even more discounts. Throughout your career, these savings can add up to a monumental amount of money.

Disability insurance protection increases in cost as we age – it will be more expensive every year. By getting a policy early in your career, you lock in the price while it’s the most affordable. Additionally, you can purchase a future increase option at this time, allowing you to increase your protection as your future income increases, without the imposition of any more medical underwriting.

Group disability insurance coverage is a wonderful benefit, and I almost always advise physicians to enroll for the maximum group benefits that they’re eligible for, however it often has limitations. It may be capped at an amount that is insufficient to replace your total income if disabled. Portability is also a concern – if you change employers or career paths, the coverage will be lost. Almost always, group coverage contains offsets where any benefits attained from other sources will decrease the benefits paid out by group coverage. A solid personal disability policy, specially designed for physicians and medical professionals, addresses these inherent risks.

Where should you obtain this vitally important coverage at the most affordable price? Only purchase personal disability insurance coverage through an independent agent who can offer plans from multiple companies. Never allow yourself to be sold a policy by a representative who offers only one plan, and thereby has an innate conflict of interest. The plan should be designed for you, not just a standard policy.

WisMed Assure exists for your benefit and offers plans from the big five insurance companies, with plans specifically designed for physicians. Reach out to us and let us design a plan that fits your needs. James Dahle, MD, of The White Coat Investor states, “Early in residency, buy as large of a high-quality, specialty-specific, own occupation, individual disability insurance policy as an agent is willing to sell you.” Take care of this urgent financial chore today.

Reach out to me and my team at WisMed Assure at, complete this quick online form or call 608.442.3810.

What’s in a financial plan?

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

Mark Ziety

A financial plan is like a roadmap that helps you navigate through the twists and turns of life, whether you’re saving up for a new car or preparing for retirement. Think of it as your secret weapon to achieving your financial goals and living your best life.

Now, let’s break it down into the three scenarios we all share: a long healthy life, getting sick along the way or passing away early. We need to be prepared for all of them, and that’s where financial planning comes in handy.

Cash Flow

You might call it a budget, but we like to call it the “4 Fs.” It’s like a secret formula to financial success! You just need to know your:

  • Fixed expenses (the boring stuff like housing and utilities)
  • Future expenses (like saving for retirement or your next vacation)
  • “F”ilanthropy expenses (how much you want to give back to your community)  
  • Fun expenses (the things that make life worth living!)

Once you have these figures down, you can put your cash flow to work and watch your bank account grow.

Eliminating Debt

We all know it’s easy to fall into the trap of overspending. But a good financial plan will help you avoid that and pay off any debt you already have quickly.


We might not like to think about it, but getting sick or passing away early is a possibility for all of us. That’s why having the right insurance and right amount is crucial. Health insurance, disability insurance and life insurance are all important components of a good financial plan.


A well-diversified portfolio with the right asset allocation and asset selection can help you achieve your financial goals. And don’t forget about asset location, putting the right investments in the right account, which can make a big difference in your after-tax returns. Bonus: check out the 7 proven ways to improve performance.


Retirement is often the biggest topic that financial planning covers. How much do you need to save for retirement? When should you start withdrawing your money? Which account should you use first? And when should you start taking Social Security? These are all important questions that a good financial plan can help answer.


If you have children, college planning is often important. Saving for college is just the beginning – picking the right school that offers grants and scholarships can help cover the costs.


Taxes can be a huge expense for most people, which is why tax planning is a crucial part of a financial plan. By creating a strategy to manage your taxes, you can keep more money in your pocket.

Estate Plan

Finally, estate planning is something everyone should consider. Who will take care of your finances and health care if you become incapacitated? Who will take care of your children if something happens to you? A good financial plan should include a will, health care and financial power of attorney documents, beneficiary designations and possibly a trust.

Phew! That’s a lot to consider, but don’t worry – you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. A financial planner can help guide you through the process and create a personalized plan to help you achieve your financial goals. Are you ready to take control of your finances and start living the life you deserve?

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

Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF®

WisMed Financial, Inc. part of the Wisconsin Medical Society

Long-term care insurance – but what if I don’t need it?

Tom Strangstalien

By Tom Strangstalien, Insurance Advisor

We all know the risks of a long-term care event devastating our family’s finances as well as our mental and personal well-being. Roughly half of those who reach the age of 65 will require some form of long-term care assistance during their lifetime. What this means for a married couple is likely one of them will incur costs for long-term care. Because of the astronomical odds, the cost of long-term care insurance is certainly not inexpensive.

Despite the odds, the biggest objection that I receive when formulating a plan for one of our members when it comes to long-term protection is, “If I don’t use it all the money that I spent will be wasted.” Plus, we’re all invincible superheroes anyway, right? “It will never happen to me, so I’ll just save and invest the money and take my chances.” Thankfully, with the evolution of long-term care planning over the past few years, there is another alternative that makes a great deal of sense!

The life insurance industry has existed much longer than long-term care insurance. Actuaries, as it pertains to life insurance, have these statistics down to microscopic precision in calculating how long on average a person will live and what sums of monies will be paid out and when. When it comes to long-term care, this really isn’t the case, and is in part why the costs of protection are high. As consumers of life insurance, we also know that without a doubt the benefits will be paid out, and what we have paid for the benefits. In addition, we have the added benefit that the proceeds will likely be income tax free.

Are you aware that there are now policies where some or all of the life insurance benefits can now be utilized for costs incurred for long-term care while you are alive? And on a tax advantaged basis? All proceeds of the policy will be paid either in the form of long-term care protection or a life insurance benefit to named beneficiaries. If the policy is in force, the money is guaranteed to never be wasted!

These policies can also involve some dual planning, such as a charitable gift or estate planning scenarios if the proceeds are paid out in the form of a life insurance benefit. Lastly, these plans are priced attractively, as actuaries know exactly what benefits will be paid out and on average when.

I am a big advocate of this relatively new concept in planning for long-term care. If you haven’t addressed long-term care as part of your overall financial portrait, I would encourage you to promptly do so. You may be very pleasantly surprised by the cost to benefits ratio! At WisMed Assure, we are always here to help!

Reach out to me and my team at WisMed Assure at, complete this quick online form or call 608.442.3810.