quaterly newsletter

Summer 2020 Issue

Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund Announces Premium Holiday

On Wednesday, June 17, 2020, the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund (fund) approved waiving the upcoming fiscal year’s premiums for physicians, CRNAs and hospitals enrolled in the fund.

The Society has been working hard to find ways to assist its membership during these unprecedented times. The premium holiday was originally requested by the Society and endorsed by the fund’s Actuarial and Underwriting and Finance/Investment/Audit committees before it was approved by the Board. The premium holiday will be in effect from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. Read More

MPL Market + COVID-19 = What Next?

The COVID-19 crisis will add pressure to an already “stressed out” underwriting environment.

Carriers are now responding to demands of COVID-19 with premium relief and underwriting flexibility (e.g. waiving requests for supplemental information on telemedicine or cross-state boarder practice). This lowers their premium base and handicaps underwriting.“In this environment, I’ve never been more acutely aware of our mission at the Wisconsin Medical Society and WisMed Assure and I am proud of how we and our community of physicians have responded,” says Shawna Bertalot, WisMed Assure President.  Read More

Shawna Bertalot is the president of the WisMed Assure agency. With her strong leadership skills and knowledge of the industry, our skilled team of agents are motivated and well prepared to find solutions for our clients. 

Navigating Testing in a COVID Environment

By Chris Noffke, GBDS – VP of Employee Benefits

Navigating insurance benefits is complex and confusing for consumers and business owners alike. People seeking benefits are expected to understand insurance terms like deductibles, coinsurance, out of pocket limits, annual out of pocket limits (yes this can have a different maximum risk amount) and many others.

On top of that, you now have to understand the ins and outs of preventative care coverages and COVID related no-cost, shared-cost coverages.  Read More


Chris Noffke: Vice President, Employee Benefits

I am pleased to announce the promotion of Chris Noffke from Director of Group Benefits to Vice President, Employee Benefits. Chris has been with WisMed Assure for four years and has worked as an insurance advisor for more than 15 years.

In his role as vice president, Chris will focus on advancing WisMed Assure’s ability to deliver superior employee benefit solutions and service to an ever-growing number of healthcare providers.

Chris has already played a key role in the creation of several important initiatives and programs including the association health plan, a pooled disability program, and the improvement of the pricing and value of our dental program. He is currently working on the development of a national medical cooperative and a national association health plan.

Prior to joining WisMed Assure, Chris held positions at WPS, EPIC Life, Group Health Cooperative of South-Central Wisconsin and Ameritas Group, as well as operating his own insurance agency. He has completed the National Association of Health Underwriters Voluntary/Worksite Certification and holds a Group Benefit Disability Specialist (GBDS) designation and is studying to become a Certified Self-Funding Specialist (CSFS).

Chris has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska.

On behalf of the entire WisMed Assure team, I congratulate Chris on reaching this important milestone and look forward to supporting his continued success.

Shawna Bertalot, CIC, ACI, President

We’re growing!
Insurance Advisor joins the WisMed team

At WisMed Assure, we are always looking for and developing new and better ways to serve the Wisconsin medical community. This includes developing our team of dedicated professionals through education, training, and, when needed, hiring proven expertise.

We are delighted to announce Tom Strangstalien has joined our team to bolster our financial services capabilities. Tom specializes in individual financial protection including life, disability and long-term care insurance.

Tom has over 25 years of experience in the financial-protection business. He believes clients should be treated in the same way he and his family would like to be treated and that building relationships is crucial to delivering the best possible service and value.

Tom attended Viterbo University, majoring in Business Administration and Finance, graduating with honors, Magna Cum Laude. Throughout his career, Tom has earned numerous awards and recognition, including top of the table at several insurance companies, and becoming a member of the Million Dollar Round Table.

When Tom is not busy protecting the financial wellbeing of his clients, he enjoys traveling and seeking out new experiences with his wife and their four children. On any given weekend, you can find Tom, fishing, hunting, or hiking and creating memories that will become tall fish tales, some even true.

We are excited to welcome Tom to the WisMed Assure team and look forward to working with him to assure our clients’ financial health and security.

Wisconsin Medical Society Declares Racism to be a Public Health Crisis

Racism is a constant threat to health, medical care and longevity in America. The Wisconsin Medical Society, driven by its mission to improve the health of the people of Wisconsin, declares racism to be a Public Health Crisis and calls for equity in health.

Racism threatens health. Racism worsens the social determinants of health, including housing, employment, education, community and neighborhood, food and medical care. Poor housing, including homelessness, results in illnesses such as diabetes and asthma. Unemployment increases heart disease risks and overall mortality; poor education increases death from diabetes; physical space loss for exercise increases childhood obesity; and food deserts significantly increase African-American obesity. The greatest health threat faced today in COVID-19 has further revealed these profound disparities demonstrated by the disproportionate mortality in communities of color.

The human toll is destructive and untenable. To move forward, we must take a stand against racism. In doing so, we stand in solidarity with organizations across the state and our country condemning racism, injustice, and health disparities.
The Society, along with many other healthcare organizations, is taking a strong stand and has identified seven key recommendations for change. You can learn more here.

Different Kinds of Debt: The Good, the Bad, and the Just-Don’t-Do-It!

By Rufus Sweeney

Amassing a considerable amount of debt during medical school is “situation normal” for practically every medical student. Even though debt is rarely seen as a good thing, you need to know the difference between good debt, bad debt, and debt to be avoided at all cost.

Choosing wisely now makes paying off your debt much easier. Read More

Play Defense and Offense to Win the Medical Liability Game

The Antidote: Play Defense and Offense to Win the Medical Liability Game
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Play Defense and Offense to Win the Medical Liability Game: A game plan for success in a hard insurance market

by Shawna Bertalot

Three of every four primary care physicians will be sued by a patient during the course of their career. The numbers are even worse for specialties.
Which is why physicians as a whole are not willing to take the chance they will be among the lucky few who never get sued. To guard against the financial impact of a law suit, they purchase Medical Professional Liability (MPL) insurance. But, as Wisconsin physicians begin to experience rising MPL premiums along with greater underwriting scrutiny, the question becomes, “How can I get the coverage I need and avoid paying too much?” Read More

This is the final instalment of a three-part series on changes in the Wisconsin MPL insurance market.

Shawna Bertalot is the president of the WisMed Assure agency. With her strong leadership skills and knowledge of the industry, our skilled team of agents are motivated and well prepared to find solutions for our clients. 
Did you know that the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund maintains your personal malpractice coverage records?  Click here to view.
Whether or not your employer is handling your malpractice coverage, you should check your account regularly to make sure you are keeping up with this legal obligation.   Any unaddressed noncompliance issues will not only affect your coverage in event of a claim, but it may prevent you from renewing your Wisconsin medical license.
Fund staff is available to answer any questions you have.  You may contact the Fund at (608) 266-6830 or ociipfcf@wisconsin.gov
Wisconsin Medical Society helps it’s members to be heard through advocacy, strong through education and leadership development and secure through products and services from WisMed Assure designed for Wisconsin’s physicians. Join or renew today!


Get into the Conversation!

Explore our new knowledge bank of financial decisions all physicians face from med school through to retirement and beyond. Get started today by asking for help with a pending decision or commenting on one already posted.

Here’s a recent posting offering advice about having a dedicated financial planner:

“Start 529 savings accounts for each child right away….Also be careful about life etc, insurance, you are ripe fruit for them to pick, talk to financial person who works with physicians who do not have direct gain. Worthwhile to have financial specialist who works for YOU!”

Add your submission here.
IRS Releases 2019 Instructions for Form 8994: Employer Credit for Paid Family and Medical Leave
Read more.

Our Goal

Deliver innovative products and outstanding customer service to Professionals who care for the health of others.

Profits generated by WisMed Assure benefit the Wisconsin Medical Society’s mission to improve the health of the people of Wisconsin.


Term Life Insurance

by Dave Serena

“How much can I get for how little?”
This is the usual question from a potential buyer of “Term” Life insurance.
But for our Residents, Fellows, and young Physicians who want to protect their life and their family, it’s an incomplete question.
The better question is, “How can I inexpensively protect my family from bad consequences while we buy time for our assets to grow to a point where we won’t need Life Insurance anymore?” 
Read More
Dave Serena has been an Insurance Advisor with Wisconsin Medical Society Insurance Services since 1995. Working exclusively with Physicians – he has more than 800 active clients – Mr. Serena provides guidance for income and asset protection. He is dedicated to working with Residents, Fellows, and practicing Physicians and their families. Mr. Serena is a member of the National Association of Life Underwriters and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. He is the recipient of the National Association of Life Unerwriters’ prestigious National Quality Award.

Physician Wellness Matters

New course battles financial stress and physician burnout
by Christopher Rufus Sweeny

The survey says… wait, that’s wrong. Start again: 42 percent of all surveyed physicians say that they are burned out. And that number is steadily rising.
My research shows that financial anxiety is one of the primary drivers of physician depression, burnout, and suicide. When asked why, physicians say it’s because of their job. But, when asked what would reduce burnout, their first answer is increased compensation to avoid financial stress.
But, think about this: getting a higher salary is often not something you can directly control. On the other hand, you do have direct control of how you manage your salary. You can control what you have.

Read More
The Wisconsin Medical Society and its partners are hoping to once again draw hundreds of physicians and medical students to the state Capitol Wednesday, January 29 for Doctor Day 2020.
The Antidote is a quarterly newsletter from your Financial Partner for Life. Each edition will keep you up to date on the latest industry trends and products and services that will help reduce your financial stress. 
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