Benefits in Your Contract
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Disclaimer: The following is a post submitted by Contract Diagnostics, a sponsor of this website.
“Contract Diagnostics is the country’s only firm 100% dedicated to Physician Contract Reviews.
Their proprietary review process focuses around educating their Physician clients on how to negotiate and ask for things, what specifically to ask for, and an overall view of the ‘deal’.”
A lot of individuals have their eyes glaze when they look at pages and pages of legalese typically found in a contract.
Because of this, these individuals just sign on the dotted line trusting that the contract is fair and in their best interest.
However there are many instances where the contract often favors the employer since it is a product created by them and thus have some inherent bias in it.
All is not lost, however, as the employee still has the power to negotiate to try and balance the scales.
I will let the founder of Contract Diagnostics, Jon Appino, take it away so that he can share some insights regarding the most important paper you sign your name to.
Many physicians want to see specific details about benefits and contracts.
Some employers are able to put that in the contract.
However many employers just have a little paragraph that says, “You’ll be offered our benefits.”
They may provide a separate packet describing the benefits or maybe just a verbal discussion is all you get.
Benefits typically are non-negotiable, right?
If that is indeed the case, we want to know, what it was last time they were changed?
Are there any plans on changing them in the future?
If malpractice is classified as a benefit, we want to make sure that that if this benefit is one of those things that can change or not.
If it is policy that malpractice benefits are subject to change, then it is wise to ensure that there is an adequate notice period (90-120 days).
An adequate notice period gives you options:
- Gives enough time to either plan to leave if you don’t like how they’re changing.
- Gives enough time to plan for negotiating something else into their contract regarding the malpractice.
However the majority of the time, malpractice is not a provided benefit.
When do the benefits start?
Medical insurance is an often-overlooked aspect of benefits.
If you finish your training in June and start on July 1st, does your benefit start then or a later date?
A lot of policies have a waiting period of 30 days.
You can potentially be faced with a gap month of no employee provided insurance benefits.
Because the current Affordable Care Act states that people are required to have insurance, this can create an unexpected financial hit to newly graduated residents.
Gap insurance coverage via COBRA could cost $500 to $2,000 a month.
To make matters worse, some residents have a delayed start date, either because of planned time off or board exam preparation.
Other benefit considerations.
If disability and life insurance benefits are present, are they adequate for the physician’s particular situation or is there a need to buy more from a third-party vendor?
With regards to retirement, is there an employee match to any of your contributions?
What is the vesting schedule to receive these retirement benefits?
Is PTO [Paid Time Off] part of the benefits?
Does PTO roll over if it is not used or is it lost at the end of the calendar year?
If you’re terminated and still have some PTO left over, do you get paid the remainder?
Those are some of the benefit questions that Contract Diagnostics makes sure physicians are aware of as they’re going through their benefits statements.
If you are in search of financial help, please consider enlisting the service of any of the sponsors of this blog who I feel are part of the “good guys and gals of finance.”
Even a steadfast DIY’er can sometimes gain benefit from the occasional professional input.
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