medicare

Fall 2023 Issue

Peace of mind this holiday season

By Martin Hurst, Insurance Service Representative

desk covered in policies to compare

The agents here at WisMed Assure do not focus solely on revenue, our agents go that extra mile to address individual and specific concerns and provide coverage within each customer’s budgetary needs. By putting clients’ needs first, our agents demonstrate their commitment to providing excellent service and building trust with physicians.

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Helping clients with strategies, not just quotes

photo of calculator and stethoscope on top of graphs

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

Managing the costs of employee benefits while still providing robust resources for your employees can be a challenge. If your insurance agent just gives you a few quotes to compare, you might not be getting the best plans for your team.

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Consolidation leads to $600,000 student loan forgiveness – a case study

'Case Study' written on chalkboard

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

Good financial planners do much more than help with investments. They look at the entire financial picture, which includes debts too. Today’s case study shows how a unique rule, available until December 31, is facilitating more than $600,000 in student loan forgiveness.

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Nightmare before Christmas success story: cyber hacker stopped

By Shawna Bertalot, CIC, ACI, WisMed Assure President

Message from IT Manager: “Unusual activity has been detected on your exchange and our files cannot be backed up.”

This is not how any clinic administrator or managing partner wants to start their Monday morning, but exactly what happened to a long-time WisMed Assure client last December. This highly experienced, professional administrator of a 15-physician independent clinic with over 50,000 patient records was facing a situation she had never experienced before.

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Finding insurance and financial advisors I trust

By Tim Bartholow, MD

I have several connections to our Wisconsin Medical Society, and I’d like to share some good and bad  experiences with on the street financial advising and insurance advising, and how  WisMed Financial and WisMed Assure cut through market confusion.

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Should I convert my term life insurance policy?

photo of a young family looking out the window at fresh snow

By Tom Strangstalien, Insurance Advisor

As we celebrate the holiday season, we’re especially thankful for our loved ones. It’s the most popular time of year to reflect on our life insurance needs to determine whether we have the right coverage and enough coverage to protect our loved ones. The most common form of life insurance protection is term life, and a planning tool that often gets overlooked is the potential to convert your term life insurance coverage to some form of permanent life insurance, without any medical underwriting requirement.

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Protecting your most important asset can be a daunting task

Calendar full of appointments

By Lisa Koerner, Insurance Advisor

What is your most important asset? It’s your ability to earn an income. When choosing disability programs to protect your income, there are a number of different companies and benefits. It’s often a task that takes time and research, along with several discussions with an insurance agent.

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Making Part D of Medicare brighter

photo of an elderly man looking at medications with his physician

By Mary Krueger, Medicare Specialist

As many of you on Medicare know, October 15 to December 7 is the Annual Election Period for Medicare Part D and Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage). This often coincides with a flurry of research needed and concerns expressed by client recipients and this year was no exception.

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Making Part D of Medicare brighter

By Mary Krueger, Medicare Specialist

As many of you on Medicare know, October 15 to December 7 is the Annual Election Period for Medicare Part D and Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage). This often coincides with a flurry of research needed and concerns expressed by client recipients and this year was no exception.

For many, a prescription drug deductible is an easy choice, but the issue of very expensive prescriptions is a familiar plea. Therefore, searching for solutions is top priority.

One of those requests came from a physician and his wife who had vastly different prescription needs. One was taking a simple generic drug that would not meet the deductible but the other needed to find a way to reduce the cost of their estrogen cream and heart medication.

In this case, the best option was prescription discount cards (GoodRx and SingleCare) along with their Medicare Part D plans. These discount cards are a great way to research costs online to find more economical ways to get prescription medications. In this case, the savings amounted to more than $72 per month on one and $31 per month on the other medication.

Additionally, I assisted a family that saved more than $8,210 in a year for experimental MS drugs using a discount card.

Free discount cards have been a great help for many of my customers and are worth exploring in addition to the Part D plans. Not only can these cards help you personally, but they can be a great resource for your patients.

If you need assistance with your Medicare choices, let me know. We are here to help you! Contact Mary Krueger at 715.760.1350 or mary.krueger@wismedassure.org.

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.

Summer 2023 Issue

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

Pins on a calendar

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.

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

Stone walkway in grass

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

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.

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Innovation and improvements

Employee benefits manual with stethoscope on it

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

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!

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Workers Compensation rate decreases

By Brian Fowler, WisMed Assure Account Director

Starting October 1, 2023, for the eighth consecutive year, Workers’ Compensation rates in Wisconsin will drop. Work 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.

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You bet your life

Cropped shot of young woman hugging her grandmother & helping her with her finances on a laptop

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?

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Spring 2023 Issue

Why purchase individual disability protection during residency

physician looking at forms

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?

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Group disability insurance can coordinate with individual policies 

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

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?

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What’s in a financial plan?

piggy bank on pile of money

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

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.

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WisMed Assure can assist you with your Medicare decisions

Medicare keywords chart

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.

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Log in to the new IPFCF portal to ensure compliance

By The WisMed Assure Service Team

The Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund (IPFCF) has implemented a new policy and administration system. The new system allows participants to review correspondence from IPFCF and pay their bill online.

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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 mary.krueger@wismedassure.org.

Medicare questions to ask

By Mary Krueger, Medicare Specialist

Before enrolling in Medicare, there are several decisions Medicare recipients need to make regarding their existing coverages or changes in their health insurance needs.

Typically, six months prior to becoming eligible (eligibility for Medicare may be because of disability or turning 65), it is a good idea to speak with a Medicare Specialist to establish an open dialog about what you want in your benefits and how much of your budget to designate for it.

Here are a few questions:

  • Will I be in a network or have the freedom to choose where I go?
  • What are the benefits of choosing a Medicare Advantage or a Medicare Supplement?
  • Who will help me if I have a claim and don’t understand the billing?
  • Will I need to get preauthorization for my surgery?

These are a few of the concerns that are voiced regularly. Medicare has been providing coverage since 1965. Plans have changed over the years and so have the benefits, which is why it makes sense to have someone who can walk you through these and many other issues with Medicare.

I have enjoyed helping in those decisions for more than 40 years, and it is my pleasure to assist in the decisions Medicare recipients make. Contact me at 715.760.1350 or mary.krueger@wismedassure.org.