PracticeLink Magazine

Spring 2019

The career development quarterly for physicians of all specialties, PracticeLink Magazine provides readers with feature articles, compensation stats, helpful job search tips—as well as recruitment ads from organizations across the U.S.

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34 S PRIN g 2019 PracticeLink.com ▼ T HE J O b S E A r CH ISSUE D E P A R T M E N T S Legal Matters br U ce ar M o N J a Y W e IN ber G a n insurance primer for young physicians From life to malpractice, the ins and outs of insurance are important for new physicians to know. P h YSI c I a NS G e N era LLY T h INK INSU ra N ce — LIF e , DIS ab ILITY a ND P ro F e SSI o N a L LI ab ILITY — IS T oo e XP e NSIV e or WILL N e V er be N ee D e D. But it's critical to understand what insurance policies do and don't cover, the potential benefits and the actual cost of each kind. Life insurance Your employment setting typically dictates whether life insurance is part of your benefits package. For physicians who are employed by a hospital, hospital affiliate or a larger group (more than 20 employees), it is likely that group life insurance will be part of the benefits package. With respect to a group life insurance policy, a physician should focus on these items: Eligibility. How long do you have to work for that employer to become eligible for this benefit? Coverage amounts. Often times, the amount of insurance is a multiple of your annual salary and includes a maximum cap on the amount payable. For example, a policy could state "3x the physician's salary with a maximum benefit of $500,000." These caps are typically far less than one's actual insurance needs. Additional "buy ups." You may be able to purchase additional life insurance coverage than what is offered in the original group policy. It is important for you to know, in advance, if the buy up policy can follow you to another job, or if it makes more sense to purchase an individual policy from the outset. Cost. Do you, your employer or some combination pay for life insurance? Portability. If you leave the job, is it possible to continue the policy? (Generally, there is a low probability that you can transfer a substantial group life insurance policy into an individual policy even if you agree to continue to pay the annual premiums.) Conversion. Are you able to extend your coverage amount at a later date without having to answer any medical questions? Medical underwriting. Does the life insurance policy require, as a precondition, that you answer questions with respect to your health history? Depending on your individual circumstances, you may elect to receive the employer's group life insurance policy "free of charge" and then purchase an individual policy catered to your specific needs.

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