What if you were the patient?

Life insurance for GPs in Australia

 

All GPs work as contractors which means you don’t have the protection that other employees might enjoy. David Dooley, Financial Advisor at Mint Advisory (sponsorship partner) explains.

Why you need life insurance

The day you’ve been waiting for has arrived; your brand new car is ready to take home. The first thing you do before driving it is get it insured. There’s no way you would risk anything happening to your new car! This is a common scenario. Most of us don’t think twice about insuring our possessions, but what about protecting the most important asset- you? If you were in an accident and couldn’t work, how would you and your family afford your medical bills, as well as your mortgage and daily expenses? Personal insurance is one of the best ways of protecting what’s most important to you. However, understanding it all can be time-consuming and complicated. Let’s simplify things and look at the basics: Australians are underinsured to the tune of $1,370 billion (1).

  • 6 out of 10 Australians with dependent children do not have sufficient life insurance cover to look after their loved ones for more than one year if they were to die (2)
  • 96% of Australian families lack enough life insurance to protect their families for 10 years (3) or more
  • 4% of Australian families are adequately insured (4).

Why you need life cover

Life cover becomes a necessity if you have dependents who rely on you financially or if you have debts which need to be extinguished upon your death. Immediate expenses to take into account include:

  • medical or hospital costs
  • funeral costs
  • mortgage or other debts, and
  • ongoing income for your dependants.

Life cover explained

Life cover is also known as term life insurance or death cover. Life cover provides peace of mind by paying a specified amount to your beneficiaries, ensuring that they are looked after in the event of your death. A lump sum or equivalent instalments can be paid to the policy owner, nominated beneficiaries or to your estate. You can add Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) cover to your life cover policy in case you are unable to work due to a permanent disability. You may also add trauma cover which pays a benefit if you are diagnosed with one of a number of conditions such as cancer, heart attack or stroke.

The facts

  • 90% of Australian adults have at least one modifiable risk factor for heart, stroke and vascular diseases (5).
  • Stroke is Australia’s second biggest killer. Nearly 500,000 Australians will suffer at least one stroke over the next 10 years (6).
  • 1.1 million Australians are disabled long-term by heart, stroke and vascular diseases (5).

Why you need income protection

The insurance policy is important for GPs as contractors do not have the usual protection that employees might enjoy.

As the name suggests, income protection is the best way to protect your current income if you are unable to work due to illness or injury. This type of policy pays up to 75% of your gross annual income, in monthly payments, to cover your living expenses. Income protection has waiting and benefit periods. Why you need income protection While we readily consider protecting our possessions, we often neglect to protect our ability to earn an income. Income protection is important if you have:

  • debts, such as a mortgage, credit cards or personal loans you couldn’t pay if you were unable to work due to sickness or injury
  • little or no savings
  • the need for regular income to pay ongoing family expenses such as food, household bills, rates, school fees or running a car, and
  • a family that you would like to ensure are financially protected if you were unable to work.

Do you need needlestick insurance?

A popular option for medical professionals is to utilise Needlestick insurance (NI). NI provides lump sum cover of between $50,000 to $1,000,000 for medical professionals if they contract HIV, HepB or HepC due to an accident in their usual occupation.

The facts

  • According to a World Health Organisation Report (2002) 37.6% of Hepatitis B, 39% of Hepatitis C and 4.4% of HIV/AIDS in Health Care workers around the world are due to needlestick injuries (16).

Trauma insurance explained

Trauma insurance provides a lump sum benefit or equivalent instalments if you’re diagnosed with a specific illness or injury covered by the policy (such as cancer, stroke, heart disease, blindness, severe burns, loss of speech or deafness). The benefit amount, chosen by you, can be used to reduce debts, pay for medical expenses and maintain your lifestyle while you recover.

Why you need Trauma insurance

Trauma insurance is especially important for families or those with dependents, especially when only one spouse is working. Consider the consequences if one-half of a couple become seriously ill and was unable to work. How would they cope with the mortgage and everyday expenses on top of medical costs for treatment and rehabilitation? Trauma insurance provides funds for everyday living expenses and treatment costs. It may even allow you to make permanent lifestyle changes like returning to work part-time.

The facts

  • One in three Australian males, and one in four females, can expect to be diagnosed with cancer before age 75 (10).
  • Death rates are falling for many of our leading health concerns, such as cancer, heart disease, strokes, injury and asthma (11).
  • On average, households (in NSW) can expect to incur $47,200 in financial costs after a member of that household is diagnosed with cancer (12).

We’re ready to help

To enjoy today knowing tomorrow is taken care of call our office for an obligation free appointment. Please contact David Dooley on 0409 992 743 or visit www.mintadvisory.com.au

Mint Advisory & Alecto Australia have an ongoing affiliation in an aim to provide support to our candidates.

Sources:

1 Fast Facts; A nation exposed’ IFSA August 2005 2 ‘Life and risk sales up’ IFSA April 2007 3 ‘Analysis of insurance needs’ Rice Walker Actuaries May 2005 4 ‘Australian mothers—undervalued and underinsured’ IFSA October 2005 5 ‘Heart, stroke and vascular diseases, Australian facts 2004’ Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2004 6 ‘Walk in our shoes; Stroke survivors and carers report on support after stroke’ National Stroke Foundation 2007 7 ‘National Road Safety Action Plan 2007/08’ Australian Transport Council 2007 8 ‘Fast Facts; A nation exposed’ IFSA August 2005 9 ‘Heart, stroke and vascular diseases, Australian facts 2004’ Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2004 10 ‘Cancer in Australia: an overview 2006’ Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2007 11 ‘Australia’s health 2008’ Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2008 12 ‘Cost of Cancer in NSW’ Access Economics Report for the Cancer Council NSW April 200713