Planning your family: The insurance essentials

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 58, No. 9, November 2016, Pages 522-523 News
By: Ada Lo

As physicians plan to start their families in the province of BC, there are important considerations to think about.

Life insurance

The first and foremost is to increase life insurance. Life insurance coverage is calculated to cover immediate needs such as a mortgage or other loans to allow the surviving spouse to live debt-free in the event of a death. If there is a new dependent child, it is important that life insurance covers costs of raising the child, including education costs and a monthly income for the child until he or she reaches adulthood. Coverage increases depend on the child’s age. For example, if the child is 5 years old, you may need to account for 13 to 15 years of monthly income before the child becomes financially independent. The policyholder determines the number of years of income the child receives and the amount of income received per month, and the insurance coverage is increased accordingly.

Parental leave program

Insurance advisors also strongly recommend that physicians look into the parental leave program. Physicians paid by the Medical Services Plan on a fee-for-service or sessional basis, or paid under a nonsalaried service contract in the calendar year prior to the commencement of a leave, are eligible for benefits. The program provides up to $1000 per week for 17 weeks over a 52-week period to BC physicians who take a leave from practice as a result of the birth or adoption of a child. In addition, physicians can have their Doctors of BC membership dues reduced while on parental leave.

Updated wills

Another priority is having an updated will. If a child under 18 is designated as a beneficiary, a trustee should be designated to receive funds on the child’s behalf. Instructions that stipulate at what age, percentage, and circumstance the funds are to be transferred to the child should be included. If no trustee is elected, the funds will be paid to the courts.

Health and dental coverage

If a physician has health and dental coverage through the Doctors of BC Health Benefits Trust Fund, it is important to add the child to the plan within 90 days of birth/adoption. During this period proof of health for the child is not needed. After 90 days has passed, proof of health is required and the child could be accepted or declined for coverage.

Disability insurance

Many physicians are not aware that disability insurance covers disability resulting from complications of pregnancy. This includes complications from a cesarean section, whether the procedure was elective or otherwise.

Critical illness insurance

Physicians who have critical illness insurance can consider adding a child critical illness option to their coverage. The plan includes an optional child rider offering up to $20 000 if the child becomes ill or develops one of six specific childhood conditions covered by the plan. If added, the chosen coverage amount will apply to each child, and no matter how many children are in the family, there is only one low premium. 

Accidental death and dismemberment insurance

Adding a family option for the dependent child to accidental death and dismemberment insurance means that, in the unfortunate event of the death of the child, 10% to 15% of the policy holder’s coverage will be given to the living parents.

For more information regarding any of these recommendations, contact a Doctors of BC advisor at 604 735-5551, or learn more at
—Ada Lo
UBC Medical Student, Year 2
Doctors of BC Student Liaison

Ada Lo. Planning your family: The insurance essentials. BCMJ, Vol. 58, No. 9, November, 2016, Page(s) 522-523 - News.

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