Financially Fit: 7 Financial Risks Medical Professionals Face (and how to fix them)

 

Medical professionals face several financial risks in their line of work. For some, it may seem like there is no solution to their problems. Such risks include risks from real estate investments, disability, death, inadequate insurance, and much more.

Physicians face high risks whether employed by a hospital or practicing privately on their own.

 In the list below, we will look at some of those risks and how you as a physician can fix them.

  1. Risk of Running out of Money due to Poor Investments Returns

A physician has very little time to know where and how he or she should invest. Considering the amount of work they are involved in makes it rather hard for them. As a professional, you need to find ample time to review your financial situation.

If you are interested in investing in your private practice, it would be wise to seek financial advice before moving forward.

Where can a physician find relevant financial information? Only through financial media adverts such as websites, radio shows, magazines, or TV adverts. Information found through advertising is not enough to properly help on how to invest.

Unfortunately, for some physicians, they take the fast way without consultation. Doing so only leads to poor investments, and some have ended up losing their retirement savings.

The best solution would be for a medical professional to seek the advice of a financial specialist.

These specialists will help you to develop an excellent financial plan helping you to reach your financial goals.

As a physician, you might be having general information about how to manage your finances. The specialists will now help you by advice further on the right direction and how your investments will be fruitful. They can help draw up a financial plan steering you in the right direction.

  • Disability Insurance

It is paramount for a physician to have an insurance policy that covers disability. Depending on their gross income, most physicians can spend between 2% and 5% on insurance premiums.

Some factors that will determine your disability plan include age, health, and medical specialty, how disability is defined in your policy, location, waiting period, and how much of the disability cover you will need.

Physicians who pay more premiums are Surgeons, Obstetricians, Anesthesiologists, Registered nurses, and Podiatrists. Physicians in dentistry, internists, Gastroenterologists, and primary care physicians usually pay the lowest premium rates.

The primary disability insurance policies will pay out 60% of your gross income. For example, if your annual income is about $336,000, you will receive $17,000 per month from your disability insurance.

Your premiums tend to increase as you age. Expect to pay higher premiums as you grow old.

To save on your insurance premiums, inquire if your insurance provider offers discounts. Some insurance companies give out discounts on premiums paid annually rather than those paid in monthly installments.

  • Inflation

With inflation rising, the economy usually suffers high costs. All sectors suffer, and one of the most affected ones in the healthcare sector. Healthcare costs will rise, yielding devastating consequences.

Public payers reimburse most doctors and hospitals. With the rate of inflation speculated to increase, physicians will receive 90% of what is fully allocated Medicare costs for their patient’s care costs.

Medical providers each year negotiate reimbursement rates with their commercial insurers. Some rates are as high as 200% of the amount Medicare pays. It can later lead to the closure of hospitals and loss of employment.

The best solution would be for the health care system to embrace changes. First, the health care system can begin by reducing the cost of high-quality care. They can then minimize medical errors and maximize prevention and remove treatments that have no clinical efficacy.

  • Alternative Payment Method

Physician’s payment models tend to be complex, and the change keeps on increasing. With alternative payment methods on the rise, the way of compensating physicians is changing. Such methods include bonuses and penalties for meeting their goals.

Research has indicated that medical practitioners are at a high risk of financial risks brought about by alternative payment methods. These include penalties for the cost of overruns.

Physicians are more welcoming to alternative payment methods that help to improve patient care. Clinical improvements were noticeable and commended by physicians despite them not benefiting from financial bonuses.

To have a solution to the alternative payment method, practicing physicians need to help design the alternative payment method. It will help improve their engagement and see more productivity in inpatient care.

  • Entrepreneurism in Health Care

Having physicians may reduce the effects of private firms taking ownership and control of health care institutions. The decision of patient care will remain with the physicians. From the beginning, physicians are the ones who have been relatively independent of health care institutions. They are bound ethnically to put the interests of the patients ahead of their interests.

Entrepreneurs now seek to invest in a health care business that happens to be outside of their practice.

Physicians must fulfill a role often known as ‘fiduciary,’ where the physician acts on behalf of his patients’ interests.

Some entrepreneurial developments in the health care sector may affect the probability of a physician’s behavior towards the patient’s ethical interest. The investments brought forth in the health care organization and bonus incentives may negatively influence the physician’s decisions. It could lead to the medical professional being biased when making decisions that will not serve the patients’ interests first.

Another challenge is that physicians would offer various services from their establishments with their separate source of income. They receive extra payments from having tests done at their laboratories.

However, such provisions have been dropped, and physicians can no longer generate personal income from services they do not provide.

Though, physicians are allowed to own their establishments such as hospitals, nursing homes, laboratories, and pharmacies. They tend to invest in freestanding and non-institutional health centers that many people are welcoming.

  • Interest Rate Risk from Real Estate Investments

Is it recommended for physicians to invest in real estate? By investing in the right assets, you can be sure that you will generate good returns.

Most physicians already fall into the higher part of federal and state tax brackets. As an investor, you can deduct the expected depreciation from your annual tax return with commercial property depreciation.

There are two ways of getting involved in real estate: active and passive real estate investing.

Active real estate investing is a risk mainly for those whose time is limited. As a physician, you would want to weigh out your options first. Investing would require you to outsource the properties, research the local market, secure financing, and manage the property yourself.

As for passive real estate investing, it can suit well with your schedule as a medical professional. It is not very involving. The benefits of passive investments are saving on time, benefiting from a more significant capital pool, deduction of property depreciation from your annual tax bill, entrust the help of professional management, and no dealing with lenders.

At times, you cannot predict how the investment will end up. Some risks that you can consider are:

  • Purchasing a bad property
  • If the investment has a lawsuit
  • Getting bad tenants
  • Poor location
  • Leverage
  • Value Decrease in the market

By doing proper diligence, you can reduce the risk involved in real estate. All investments carry possible risks, and the real estate is not exempted. Do your investigations and, if need be, seek the help of a professional.

  • Having a Malpractice Insurance to avoid Inadequate Insurance

Insurance is one of the recommended long-term financial plans. The medical profession is one of the highest paying careers and has a high income; many physicians have many assets. Before taking up an insurance cover, be it a disability, business overhead, or life; seek a skilled professional’s advice.

Without an adequate insurance policy, some physicians face the risk of losing their license to practice.

 Medical malpractice insurance is designed as specialized professional liability insurance. It covers the physician’s liability against any arising disputed services resulting from a patient’s death or injury.

Medical malpractice is required by anyone who intends to practice medicine. Hospitals must have this insurance for their physicians to defend any malpractice claims that might bring any dispute.

Because the amount of insurance required to meet your malpractice insurance varies, it is crucial to confirm with a professional medical insurance consultant. The professional will guide you on the type and amount of coverage you need.

There are two types of malpractice insurance: claims-made and occurrence. A claims-made policy will cover when an incident took place and after a filed lawsuit. The occurrence policy covers any claim that happened during the period of the coverage, even after the claim has been filed after the policy lapses.

As a physician who is going into private practice, ensure you have malpractice insurance. It will cover claims associated with medically associated risks such as regulatory requirements and cyber liability.

Contact an expert advisor today for more information on retirement planning for physicians. Sometimes a fresh perspective from a trusted source is all you need. Feel free to call us at 561-705-2005 or email us at Michael@AskWealthCare.com

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This document is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. One should consult a legal or tax professional regarding their own personal situation. Any comments regarding safe and secure investments and guaranteed income streams refer only to fixed insurance products offered by an insurance company. They do not refer in any way to securities or investment advisory products. Insurance policy applications are vetted through an underwriting process set forth by the issuing insurance company. Some applications may not be accepted based upon adverse underwriting results.  Death benefit payouts are based upon the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. The firm providing this document is not affiliated with the Social Security Administration or any other government entity.