Retired Physicians and Nurses Insurance
After spending a lifetime caring for the wellbeing of others, you have earned the right to enjoy your golden years. You have earned the right to focus on your own wellbeing. In other words, you have earned the right to enjoy a full and happy retirement.
Retirement can be a complicated process as you work your way through many complex financial decisions. The process can be especially complex for physicians and nurses. Retired physicians and nurses face additional complications around license requirements, patient notifications, and governmental regulations about handling medications and dealing with medical records.
And as with any major life change, retirement is also a time when doctors and nurses must revisit their insurance needs. After all, you don’t want to pay for insurance coverages you no longer need. At the same time, you may need to purchase new policies to replace insurance once offered by your practice.
Here’s a quick overview of some things to consider when planning for your insurance needs as you move into retirement. For a more comprehensive assessment of your insurance needs, speak with a local, independent insurance agent about your unique requirements.
Health insurance is a major issue for all retirees, and it’s no different for retired nurses and retired physicians.
Once your employment comes to an end, you can no longer expect health coverage under your employer’s group health policy.
The good news is that there are a range of options for high quality health insurance after retirement.
If you are going to retire at or after 65, you may be eligible for Medicare, the US Government’s health plan for retirees. Medicare can be complicated. It’s important to look at your options and begin the planning process well before you turn 65.
You may also want to consider a Medigap or supplemental plan. While Medicare covers many of you basic health care needs, gaps in coverage can leave you with big out-of-pocket expenses. Private supplemental plans are designed to minimize these gaps, depending on the specific plan you select.
If you plan to retire before the age of 65, you will need to purchase private health insurance to ensure that you have coverage until you qualify for Medicare.
One option is to stay on your employer’s health insurance plan through COBRA (the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act). COBRA allows you to buy into your existing health plan for up to 18 months after your retirement. COBRA plans can be costly but they may be a good option for individuals with existing health problems.
A second option is to purchase individual health insurance. The good news is that your state’s health insurance exchange may offer affordable plans that can cover the gap between retirement and Medicare eligibility. An independent insurance agent can also help you shop and compare private health insurance plans.
Long-Term Care Insurance
In addition to health insurance, you may want to consider purchasing long-term care insurance. Long-term care insurance can help cover the cost of assisted living or in-home nursing care. While we all want to think we will live out our retirement taking care of ourselves, the simple fact is more than half of Americans will require some time of nursing home care at some point in their lives.
While you can purchase long-term care insurance any time, it is cheaper if you purchase it early. The best rates are generally available for individuals in their mid-50s.
Professional Liability Insurance
Everyone needs to plan for health insurance and long-term care needs when facing retirement. But retiring physicians and nurses face an additional insurance concern: malpractice insurance, also called professional liability insurance.
Unfortunately, retirement does not protect you from malpractice suits. Former patients can continue to file claims against you for incidents that occurred before your retirement. So ensuring that you have adequate malpractice insurance into your retirement is absolutely critical.
The first step is to contact your current professional liability insurance carrier to ask about their retirement requirements. For the vast majority of physicians and nurses, your current malpractice insurance is Claims-Made Insurance. This means that it only covers you against claims made while your policy is active.
If you are currently covered under a Claims-Made policy, you will need to arrange tail coverage to protect you into retirement. The bad news is that tail coverage is notoriously expensive to purchase. The good news is that many insurance companies offer tail coverage either free or at a steep discount to retired doctors and nurses who have had continuous malpractice coverage with that company for at least five years prior to retirement.
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