Important Information for Retiring Physicians
Determine if you need to purchase an extended reporting endorsement or “tail” coverage.
After you have retired, it is possible that you may be sued for malpractice arising from treatment rendered while you were still in practice. If you purchased claims made insurance coverage (as opposed to occurrence coverage), you may need to purchase additional insurance to cover future claims. This coverage is known as an extended reporting endorsement or “tail” coverage. You may qualify for free tail coverage under certain circumstances if you've had your claims made policy with the same insurer for a certain number of years. If you are considering retiring, it is wise to contact your broker to see what the conditions are in order to get your tail for free.
Maintaining Professional Liability insurance in retirement
Should you continue your professional liability insurance coverage after you retire? Simply having an MD or DO after your name increases your risk of having to defend an allegation, even if quite unfounded. Many physicians choose to maintain a policy to respond to this incidental liability, and the pricing can be quite low. Remember that with an active medical license, the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine requires that you maintain professional liability insurance. Perhaps you may want to become involved in another healthcare pursuit, such as teaching, forensics, mentoring or volunteering. Or, you may want to retain the ability to write prescriptions. In this case, discuss your needs with your insurance agent, as there are discounts available for retired physicians that make the premium quite affordable.
Office Insurance and Workers Compensation
You will want to keep your office insured if it remains open for record retrieval and sale of equipment. If you still have employees you must keep your workers’ compensation insurance in force.
An ERISA bond is required to protect the participants and beneficiaries of an employee benefit or retirement plan from dishonest acts of a fiduciary who handles the plan assets. If you have purchased a bond, you should keep it in place until the plan is dissolved.
Health Insurance for Retirees
Through the Society’s insurance agency, PIAM, retired MMS Members and their spouses who are over 65 years old have available several, discounted group Medigap plans to supplement the benefits received from Medicare. PIAM has partnered with MetLife to offer Met's Preferred Dental Program to Society retirees and semi-retired members. This program will also be available for spouses and surviving spouses of members.
If you are thinking of volunteering, you will want to speak to an insurance agent as there are polices that respond to the risks associated with free care programs, community outreach services, mentoring, donation of your time and skills for various events.
The Massachusetts Medical Society offers a special program for physicians wanting to volunteer after retirement. Professional liability insurance is covered by the MMS and Coverys at no cost to the Volunteer Physician.