An Employee Benefit to Consider for Your Medical Practice

April 2, 2012
Melissa Young, MD

A neighborhood tragedy followed by a coincidence brought another potential employee benefit to mind for my medical practice.

A neighborhood tragedy followed by a coincidence brought an important potential employee benefit to mind.

A neighbor and good friend, a health-conscious, exercise-loving man in his 40s with no known medical problems, was found dead in his home, apparently due to a massive heart attack. We were all shocked. I went to visit the family, and they were busy with preparing for the memorial service and guests coming to offer their sympathies. I asked if there was anything they needed, and at the time, they had no idea; they were still coming to grips with what had happened. 

The next work day, I received in the mail a letter from our vision and dental insurance provider. It went through a summary of our benefits and our premium. And on the last page, the insurerer mentioned that it also offers life insurance.

I told my associate the story of our neighbor, and with more practical matters in mind. I asked her if she has life insurance. She didn’t know. Didn’t know? I told her that it was vitally important that she know if both she and her husband are adequately insured. They have two young children. They have a new house and a big mortgage. God forbid they are struck by tragedy. Long after the well-wishers are gone, the bills will keep coming. I told her that disability insurance was another thing they needed. If unable to work, and therefore bring home a salary, how would they pay the bills?

Now, I do not offer either life insurance or disability insurance to any of my employees. Three of them are young, single, and childless and, therefore, would not benefit from life insurance. Two of them live at home with their parents and, therefore, need disability insurance less than someone like my associate who has others who depend upon her and her income. 

Will I offer these as benefits someday? Maybe. It depends how much the practice grows and what happens in the lives of my staff. In the meantime, I have encouraged my associate to make sure she has life and disability insurance. 

On a happier and completely unrelated note, my new nurse practitioner starts next week.  We are very excited. She will have her EHR orientation and training Monday, and sees her first patients Thursday (she’s starting off part-time). I have been reassuring patients that they are not losing me as a provider, that I am in the office should there be anything complicated, and that they will still be seeing me during most of their visits. I have not had anyone balk at it. I think it will help that she is also a certified diabetes educator. I am sincerely hoping that they see her as the professional healthcare provider she is and that they see the benefit in seeing her as well as me. 

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