A smart start to your financial future

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 53 , No. 7 , September 2011 , Pages 372 News

Insurance planning tips for medical professionals at the start of their career
OK, let’s be honest. When you are just starting your medical career, finally making a regular income, and have a little more cash at your disposal, probably the last thing you are thinking about is planning for your financial future. After all, the future is like a faraway land at this point—and it’s certainly a lot more fun to live (and spend) in the present.

But bear this in mind: taking a few simple steps in the early stages of your career to get the right insurance coverage can protect your assets and income, save you money today, and also help you avoid potentially devastating losses that could jeopardize your financial future.

Keeping money in your pocket
After years of being a medical student, your hard work is finally paying off in the form of regular income. Yet if an accident or illness means you can’t work, losing that income stream could have a serious and lasting impact if you aren’t able to keep up with your bills, debt repayments, and other financial commitments.

Fortunately, there are different, yet complementary, types of protection that will help tide you over until you get back on your feet. Physician’s disability insurance provides a monthly income replacement benefit. The plan is funded by the provincial government at no premium cost to you and available through the BCMA. You can opt to supplement this income replacement through additional coverage with BCMA disability income insurance. 

In addition, BCMA professional overhead expense insurance helps cover the fixed costs (e.g., rent, utilities, payroll, etc.) of running your practice.

When combined, the disability income programs and professional overhead expense insurance help make sure you don’t have more money going out than coming in while you take the time needed to recover.

At age 33, Dr M. had only recently joined a group practice when she suffered a stroke after an episode of atypical pneumonia. Although she made a rapid motor recovery, she was left with a memory and speech deficit that made it impossible to resume her practice right away. 
Dr M. had a mortgage on a new condo, along with a monthly car lease. Her disability income insurance coverage gave her the means to make these payments in full and also stay on top of general household expenses without going further into debt. 

After 9 months of rehab therapy, Dr M. was able to go back to work. Her professional overhead expense insurance allowed her to maintain her office and the practice during this recovery period, along with covering salary expenses to avoid losing a trusted staff member.

Meeting your obligations
Many people think life insurance is only for those who are older or have families. Regardless of your age or marital status, if you have student loans, a mortgage, and other consumer debts to repay, you should at least have enough life insurance to cover these debts and basic funeral expenses.

BCMA term life insurance offers a range of coverage amounts from $100000 to $3000000 at competitive rates. As an added benefit, you also have the flexibility to purchase coverage for your spouse and automatically increase coverage without having to re-qualify.

Maintaining your health
Better than anyone, you know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Yet especially for the self-employed professional, regular dental care, eye exams, prescriptions, and other proactive health maintenance may fall to the wayside due to the high cost of these types of expenses.

Extended health care and dental insurance available through the BCMA Health Benefits Trust Fund lowers your out-of-pocket costs for both routine and emergency medical needs that are not covered by government plans—and helps keep you in good health to enjoy the life and career you have ahead.

Taking the right steps, right now
Even in the early stages of your medical career, it’s important to put an insurance plan in place to protect your finances both now and in the future. 

As a BCMA member, you have access to a wide range of easy and affordable insurance solutions that will help you build a smart plan. 
For help with finding the right insurance solutions for your needs, contact your noncommissioned BCMA insurance advisor, Ms Julie Kwan, at 604 638-8745, or e-mail jkwan@bcma.bc.ca. More information is also available on the BCMA website at www.bcma.org
—Sinden Luciuk
Insurance Manager, BCMA

Sinden Luciuk,. A smart start to your financial future. BCMJ, Vol. 53, No. 7, September, 2011, Page(s) 372 - News.



Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
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.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
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For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org

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