Welcome back to ACOG Rounds’ financial health series, brought to you by the ACOG Member Insurance Program! If you missed volume four, which examines transformative debt reduction strategies, catch up on the most recent article from the financial health series.
Before diving in, we have a quick announcement. A new article series focused on work-life balance will launch in 2017. If there's a specific work-life balance issue you'd like us to cover, we'd love to know—just take this brief, three-question survey. Your feedback is appreciated!
Now, onto the topic at hand: Insurance.
Not only can the word conjure ideas of complex mathematics and confusing jargon, but it also forces a confrontation with distressing "what if" scenarios: What if I die unexpectedly? What if something tragic happens to my spouse? What if I'm struck with a debilitating condition and can no longer work? The list goes on.
Yet those very fears are why insurance can be such a tremendous ally—it’s always there for you during times of crisis.
And while it's true that insurance can be complicated, you aren't expected to sort through its intricacies alone. Just as patients trust in your medical expertise, you can likewise lean on the bright minds that handle ACOG's Member Insurance Program. Our teams know how to translate policy specifics into everyday language and are dedicated to helping protect what you deem important.
Let's journey through life's uncomfortable realities to discover how insurance can shine a light through the gloom.
Power 1: Defends your livelihood
What's your most important asset in securing a salary?
The answer is universal, regardless of occupation: health. Despite the special training, skills, and tools any given job requires, the ability to earn a paycheck crumbles if you can't physically carry out your duties.
It's tempting to falsely believe that a disability is too rare to merit concern. But those in the medical field already know the long list of conditions capable of shelving a career.
Cancer. Stroke. Spinal injury. Mental illness. Chronic pain. No matter how healthy your lifestyle, it's impossible to outmaneuver every risk.
Although 72 percent of Americans think disability insurance is important, only 33 percent have it.1 Even worse? Roughly 50 percent of annual mortgage foreclosures are due to a primary wage earner incurring a disability and no longer being able to pay the bills.2
The divide between the necessity of this coverage and the vast number of defenseless workers is an issue ACOG is well aware of—that's why we've taken steps to bridge the gap.
Did you know ACOG provides $1,000 per month in free disability coverage for every member in their third and fourth year of residency? Or that ACOG's policy allows for an upper limit of $10,000 in cash benefits per month if you become totally disabled? It's a robust policy that any medical professional should look into.
Power 2: Provides from beyond the grave
What do your monetary obligations look like?
For starters, many within the medical community are strangled with student loan debt. In 2015, the average med school graduate owed an incomprehensible $180,000.3 And that's to say nothing of mortgages, auto payments, childcare costs, and the myriad other expenses life is happy to constantly throw your way.
There are three primary strategies for solving the financial crisis your family may face once you're gone:
- Save up a sizable war chest of funds during life
- Let your spouse (or other family members) take on your financial responsibilities
- Have a strong life insurance policy to replace the missing income your family depends on
Option one may be doable in a career with as much earning potential as yours—especially if you master the art of living below your means. Yet you still have to factor in the possibility of dying before accruing an amount your family could realistically live on for the next several years. In fact, 1 in 3 households will face immediate financial hardship after a primary wage earner's passing—and many more face difficulties several months later after emergency funds have dried up.1
Short of leaving behind a relative both willing and able to support your family on a single income, life insurance is the best method for countering the crushing blow most household budgets face after a breadwinner's death. And if you think you can't afford the plan's premiums, consider this: Most consumers overestimate the cost of life insurance—some by as much as 250 percent.1
ACOG also provides a $100,000 life insurance policy free for third- and fourth-year resident members. We champion the idea of young ob-gyns beginning their career with the proper safeguards in place—especially since the longer you go without it, the easier it is to put off securing coverage until it's too late.
Power 3: Purges doubt from your mind
Some people have no problem ignoring thoughts of future tragedies. But once you spend time considering how the world's host of horrors could someday impact you, the story changes. It can feel like Pandora's box; after internalizing the monetary fallout these calamities cause, it can be near impossible to block the worry out again. Knowing you could be taking steps to prevent these ruinous financial situations can gnaw at the back of your mind until you finally take action.
No matter your priorities, the vast array of insurance products on the market allows you to customize your mix and shore up risks on whatever you value most.
Are you concerned about the liabilities associated with opening your own practice? Business overhead expense insurance has you covered. What about planning for a loved one who needs care from an assisted living facility, keeping in mind a private nursing home room costs over $90,000 per year?4 Long-term care insurance will help. Concerned about identity theft? Yep, there's coverage for that too (which ACOG is sometimes able to provide free for all members, including right now—if you belong to ACOG, you have identity theft insurance through June 30, 2017).
Nobody needs to face life's economic demands alone. Enlisting the help of insurance products, like those offered through ACOG's Member Insurance Program, provides you with a hidden hero. You can go through each day with certainty, knowing you and your family will be taken care of during the darkest of hours.
That's all for this edition of ACOG Rounds' financial health series! We hope these discussions empower you to take control of your financial destiny.
Stay tuned for our next series on work-life balance, launching in 2017!
1Durham, Ashley. "2016 Insurance Barometer Study." LIMRA. N.p., 2016. Web. 27 September 2016.
2"Paycheck Protector: Long Term Disability Income Insurance - Series 3."American Fidelity. American Fidelity Assurance Company, 2016. PDF File.
3 Jasthi, Sreekar. "Credit Card, Student Loans and Mortgage Debt in the U.S."NerdWallet. N.p., 2015. Web. 30 September 2016.
4*Genworth Financial. Genworth 2015 Cost of Care Survey. 2016. PDF File.
The purpose of this article is to provide information, rather than advice or opinion. It is accurate to the best of the author’s knowledge as of the publication date. Accordingly, this article should not be viewed as a substitute for the guidance and recommendations of a retained professional. Any references to external websites are provided solely for convenience. The ACOG Member Insurance Program disclaims any responsibility with respect to such websites.