Physicians

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.

Read more…


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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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 chris.noffke@wismedassure.org 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.

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.

Currently all carriers have access to file certificates of insurance on behalf of their insureds. Participants will be onboarded in phases and should check the IPFCF website and watch for an email regarding the timeline for getting access to the new system.

The new provider portal can be accessed at ipfcfsecure.oci.wi.govThe IPFCF encourages physicians to log in and provide their personal email address. Click here for IPFCF provider portal instructions. For assistance logging into the new system or other questions, please contact the IPFCF at 608.360.8001 or via email at OCIIPFCF@wisconsin.gov.

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 chris.noffke@wismedassure.org or call 608.442.3734 if you would like to learn more. 

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?

Read more…


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?

Read more…


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.

Read more…


Small business claims that can be surprisingly expensive

By Society Insurance Human Resources, reposted with permission from Society Insurance

While running a small business, there’s a decent chance that throughout its course you’ll have to file some sort of insurance claim (often unexpectedly). Whether due to fire, theft, on-site injury or other incident, some experts estimate that 75% of small businesses faced an insurance-worthy incident just last year. Combine that with the fact that around 40% of small businesses are uninsured, and the bigger picture of how disaster affects the bottom line becomes much clearer. But it doesn’t have to completely end your operations. Arming yourself with knowledge and a comprehensive business insurance policy are your first lines of defense against disaster.

Here we’ll go over common types of small business insurance claims, how they affect businesses, and what you can do to prevent them. After all, being proactive is smarter than being reactive. 

Fire Insurance Claims

Fires are a common and costly insurance claim, especially in the restaurant industry. According to the National Fire Protection Association, around 8,240 fires occur at restaurants per year which, on average, result in two deaths, 115 injuries, and over $245 million in property damages. Most restaurant fires occur due to faulty equipment in the kitchen, which is why Society Insurance continues to highlight the  importance of proper maintenance through cleaning and awareness of hazardous materials.

Here are some tips to mitigate your risk of fires:

  • For restaurants: ensure routine maintenance and cleaning of grease traps and ducts is completed
  • Conduct inspections that uncover faulty outlets, frayed wires, and other common electrical hazards
  • Ensure all fire extinguishers are up-to-code and are utilized properly
  • Install a sprinkler system that will protect you in the event of a fire

Injuries

Injuries in the workplace, whether affecting customers or employees, is another common small business insurance claim. Slips and falls in particular are extremely common, making up about one third of all workplace injuries and accounting for the majority of worker’s compensation claims. In the experience of Society Insurance, slips and falls are both the most common insurance claims as well as the most costly. 

The Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) estimates that slips, trips and falls cause around 700 fatalities per year in the U.S. Meanwhile, the National Safety Council finds that one workplace injury happens every 7 seconds. 

It’s no secret that accidents happen, but the vast majority of them are preventable by taking the proper precautionary measures. Here are some measures you can take today:

  • Stay on top of housekeeping
  • Ensure that equipment is maintained properly and in a timely manner
  • Keep floors clean and with proper signage when wet
  • For restaurants: train employees on proper cutting utensil/equipment techniques
  • Use the proper ladder and use it correctly

Theft

Theft and burglary are common small business insurance claims. Business owners big and small are acutely aware that some people will try to take advantage of them, whether by employee theft, cybercrimes or your standard shoplifter. 

But no matter the source, losses due to theft can have a serious impact on the bottom line of small businesses. While you’re never 100% secure, keeping quality physical and cyber security best practices in place, hiring trustworthy employees, and implementing secure opening and closing routines will minimize your risk of theft and burglary. 

Water Damage

No matter what geographic climate your business is in, it is always susceptible to water damage because it can occur in a variety of circumstances, even ones that are out of your control. Water damage will almost certainly put a halt to business operations, take time and money to fix, and if you ignore the problem or cut corners, you might wind up with structural damage or mold. 

Here are some helpful tips to stay proactive and mitigate your risk of having water damage:

  • Conduct routine equipment inspections on appliances that have water lines
  • Ensure all employees know where the water main is so they can turn it off in the event of a burst pipe
  • Invest in water detection devices that sound an alarm when an abundance of moisture is present
  • Insulate pipes and disconnect outdoor hoses during winter months
  • Maintain the rooftop
  • Clean gutters at least twice per year

Our Speed & Skill Saves You Time & Money

In the event of a disaster that halts your business operations, it’s of utmost importance for you to have small business insurance to protect your assets. Our dedicated claims specialists can quickly assist you in the claims process. Whether it’s sending a claims professional to investigate an accident, locating the nearest repair shop or using one of our many cost containment programs, Society helps take care of the details so you can get back to business.

Please reach out to the WisMed Assure team at insurance@wismedassure.org, complete this online form or call 608.442.3810 to explore business owners’ and other insurance options.

Reposted with permission from Society Insurance

Winter 2023 Issue

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

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.

Read more…


Rising health insurance premiums

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

Health insurance premiums are constantly on the rise. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, “U.S. health care spending grew 2.7 percent in 2021, reaching $4.3 trillion or $12,914 per person.” Everyone from employees to employers are feeling the squeeze of high-cost premiums.

Read more…


Exercise your financial muscles to get financially fit

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

“Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.” This ancient advice from Proverbs illustrates the importance of financial fitness.

Read More…


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.

Read More…


Small business claims that can be surprisingly expensive

By Society Insurance Human Resources, reposted with permission from Society Insurance

While running a small business, there’s a decent chance that throughout its course you’ll have to file some sort of insurance claim (often unexpectedly). Whether due to fire, theft, on-site injury or other incident, some experts estimate that 75% of small businesses faced an insurance-worthy incident just last year.

Read more…


Fall 2022 Issue

Affordability testing

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

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) brought a lot of extra work to employers and insurance companies. Whether you are pro-health care reform or against it, per the Health Affairs article, the ACA has not made insurance more affordable.

Read more…


Don’t forget to call your mom – and your insurance agent

By WisMed Assure Service Team

With the intention of easing administrative burden for WisMed Assure client physicians, several of our Medical Professional Liability carriers have significantly reduced or suspended asking for renewal applications over the past few years. While this does save time, renewal applications were an opportunity to touch base, review and discuss any changes to your practice that could impact your premium or coverage.

Read More…


Year-end tax planning for 2022

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

Want to put thousands of dollars back into your pocket? Who doesn’t. Choices you make during your employer’s open enrollment period and for year-end tax planning can really add up.

Read More…


Graded premium disability? Yes, you can!

By Tom Strangstalien, Insurance Advisor

I recently worked with a young physician to set him up with personal disability protection to provide some financial security if life throws him and his family a curve ball. Prompting our planning was that one of his peers in the general surgery specialty sustained a serious hand injury, ending his ability to perform hands-on surgery.

Read more…


5 ways to develop inclusive hiring practices

By Society Insurance Human Resources, reposted with permission from Society Insurance

Inclusive hiring practices recognize diversity and embrace a wide range of perspectives that candidates from all walks of life bring to the organization. And according to research from Monster, “Four in five (86%) candidates globally say diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace is important to them.”

Read more…


5 Ways to develop inclusive hiring practices

By Society Insurance Human Resources, reposted with permission from Society Insurance

Inclusive hiring practices recognize diversity and embrace a wide range of perspectives that candidates from all walks of life bring to the organization. And according to research from Monster, “Four in five (86%) candidates globally say diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace is important to them.”

Below we delve into why it’s important to address in the workplace and several tactics your business can work towards implementing to achieve more inclusive hiring practices.

Why is Inclusive Hiring Important?

  • Organizations that recognize diversity and the fresh perspectives of their employees typically outperform organizations that don’t.
  • Workplace discrimination is illegal and building a strong foundation of inclusive hiring practices and updating those with the times can mitigate potential risk to your business.
  • Not employing inclusive hiring practices can damage your reputation and open you up to a host of new problems.

Inclusive hiring practices help to level the playing field for all who apply—combating bias and discrimination. Read, ‘7 Tips: How to Build Company Culture.’

How to Build a More Inclusive Hiring Program

 1. Write Inclusive Job Descriptions

In order to attract diverse talent, you need to make it obvious that you’re trying to do so. This starts with the job descriptions.

  • Use local language
  • Avoid gendered language (eg. use “you” instead of “he/she”)
  • Ensure easy legibility — don’t use complex phrases, keep verbiage easy to understand
  • Use fonts that allow for people with disorders such as dyslexia to easily read and comprehend the description

2. Widen Your Search

If the same types of people apply for your jobs, you may need to widen your search and evaluate where you are posting jobs. Note: sometimes niche jobs require particular skills, so this may be harder to achieve.

  • Advertise in many different places
  • Try recruiting from new college campuses
  • Post your job descriptions on a variety of social platforms
  • Try new ways and news outlets to attract talent rather than relying on the same job board every time

3. Make Your Website Inclusive

  • Include actual pictures of your team instead of stock photos
  • List job descriptions in multiple languages if applicable to your locale
  • Use dyslexia-friendly fonts
  • Implement website accessibility software to make web browsing easy (or indeed possible at all) for disabled people

4. Conduct Inclusive Interviews

  • Include a diverse panel of interviewers if possible
  • A diverse panel can reduce bias and highlight your company’s diversity to the candidate, potentially easing their nerves
  • Avoid using internal slang, acronyms or jargon during an interview

5. Develop Inclusive Company Culture

  • Hiring inclusively is great, but retaining it is just as important
  • Explicitly express that diversity in workforce is a goal and that it’s always considered with new hires
  • Top-down culture: have an empathetic leadership team that understands there are different hurdles for different workers
  • Inclusion is ongoing, not a one-and-done training session
  • Managers should ask each individual employee what they can do to help them thrive

Please reach out to the WisMed Assure team at insurance@wismedassure.org, complete this online form or call 608.442.3810 to explore employee benefits and other insurance options.

Reposted with permission from Society Insurance

Don’t forget to call your mom, and your insurance agent

By WisMed Assure Service Team

With the intention of easing administrative burden for WisMed Assure client physicians, several of our Medical Professional Liability (MPL) carriers have significantly reduced or suspended asking for renewal applications over the past few years. While this does save time, renewal applications were an opportunity to touch base, review and discuss any changes to your practice that could impact your premium or coverage.

Please contact WisMed Assure if any of the following changes have occurred or are anticipated in your practice:

  • Have any health care professionals changed practice procedures, such as added or reduced surgical procedures?
  • Have you contracted with any independent health care professionals to provide services?
  • Are any physicians changing their practice hours? How many hours per week are they working now? 
  • Have you added or changed your use of telemedicine? 
  • If you are a Wisconsin Medical Society Member with Medical Professional Liability coverage through ProAssurance, you can earn premium credit on your renewal by completing their online risk management coursework. If you are not a member and would like to become one, please let us know.

Contact your agent or insurance@wismedassure.org 608.442.3810 with any questions or changes to your practice.

WisMed Assure is the Wisconsin Medical Society’s insurance agency – profits earned support the mission of the Medical Society.