Planning strategies for “mid-career” physicians

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 53 , No. 9 , November 2011 , Pages 492-493 News

After years of hard work, you are now solidly established in your profession and enjoying the increased financial freedom that comes with success. It can be a satisfying time both personally and professionally. For some, it also brings the rewards and responsibilities of marriage and children. 

Whether you are married or single, changes in your income level, lifestyle, and financial obligations at this stage in your life all have an impact on the type and amount of insurance protection you need. 

From buying a bigger home to saving for your children’s education, a growing family usually leads to an in­crease in your financial responsibilities. It is important to have sufficient life insurance to cover your mortgage and any other debts, while also providing an adequate amount to replace your in­come and pay for your family’s future needs in case of death or a life threatening illness. 

A range of options is available to you through BCMA’s licensed insurance advisors, including the af­fordable BCMA group term life insurance plan, available to you and your spouse in amounts up to $3 000 000.

Critical illness insurance
As a medical professional, you know that cancer, heart disease, and other serious illnesses can happen to anyone at any age, regardless of overall health or family history. You also know how important it is to be able to minimize stress and take the time needed to recover.

BCMA critical illness insurance provides a lump sum benefit payment if you are diagnosed with one of the 25 illnesses covered under the plan. Since there are no restrictions on how you can spend the benefit payment, it can be used to cover your regular monthly expenses so you don’t have to dip into your retirement fund or other savings.

Consider purchasing critical illness insurance for yourself if you are single or the primary household in­come earner, and especially if you already have the maximum allowable disability insurance coverage and it is not enough to meet your total monthly income needs. BCMA critical illness coverage is available from a minimum of $30000 to a maximum of $250000.

Spousal coverage is also a good idea, particularly if your spouse is a stay-at-home parent. The benefit can be used to pay for things like help with child care and household maintenance, allowing you to keep up with the demands of your schedule—and maintain the income your family re­lies on. Here is a recent case study, with the names changed of course.

For Dr A and his wife Lisa, critical illness insurance played a vital role in her recovery process. A full-time homemaker and mother to three school-age children, Lisa’s world turned upside down when she discovered a lump in her breast at age 41. A biopsy confirmed a diagnosis of invasive ductal carcinoma. 

The good news was that the pathology report confirmed there was no cancer in the lymph nodes. Unfortunately, the size of her tumor required she undergo a full mastectomy. Within 2 weeks of diagnosis, Lisa underwent surgery. Afterward, her oncologist recommended four cycles of chemotherapy, each taking place 21 days apart.

As an obstetrician and the primary income earner, Dr A’s unpredictable hours meant he could not take over full-time parenting duties. Lisa’s critical illness insurance policy paid her $100000 benefit, giving them the means to hire a full-time caregiver for 8 months while Lisa underwent treatment and regained her strength. Also, some of the leftover funds allowed Dr A to offset the negative impact of earning a lower income when he reduced his hours to help care for his wife. 

Critical illness insurance is de­signed to help you when you need it most. It provides a lump sum to help support you financially if you are diagnosed with, and suffer from, a serious illness or condition, such as heart disease, stroke, or cancer. It can reduce the financial stress experienced by you and your family, en­abling you to focus on your recovery.

Other important protection considerations 
If you have not already done so, now is the time to get extended health care and dental insurance to help reduce your out-of-pocket costs for routine and emergency care. You may wish to consider extended health care and dental insurance for your medical of­fice staff as well. 

At this stage, it is also a good idea to review your disability income in­surance and office overhead expense insurance to make sure you have the appropriate amount of coverage to meet your current level of income and expenses.

Annual insurance checkup
Insurance professionals recommend that you review your coverage at least once a year to make sure you have the right type and amount of protection for your current life stage. 

As a BCMA member, you have access to a wide range of easy and affordable solutions that will help you build a comprehensive, customized insurance protection plan for you and your family. 

For help finding the right insurance solutions for your needs, contact your non-commissioned BCMA in­surance advisor at 1 800 665-2262, or e-mail jkwan@bcma.bc.ca or iwoojohn@bcma.bc.ca. More information is also available on the BCMA website, www.bcma.org
—Sinden Luciuk
BCMA Insurance Manager

Sinden Luciuk,. Planning strategies for “mid-career” physicians. BCMJ, Vol. 53, No. 9, November, 2011, Page(s) 492-493 - News.



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Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

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