10 Nov Health Insurance and Tax Tips for Locum Tenens Physicians
Working as a locum tenens physician offers significant benefits in terms of schedule flexibility, unique setting, exposure to different specialties, practice settings, and more. But before accepting a locum tenens role, it pays to consider your health insurance options and create a financial strategy.
As independent contractors, locum tenens physicians are responsible for their own medical, dental, life, and disability insurance. While finding a plan might seem like a challenge, it also offers the opportunity to choose a great fit.
Here are a few ideas for insurance coverage as a locum tenens physician:
The Affordable Care Act has made it easier for many locum tenens physicians to get health insurance. You can access the insurance exchange marketplace in your state by visiting HealthCare.gov, where you can also explore and enroll in different levels of coverage for yourself and your family.
Your spouse’s plan.
If your spouse is eligible for insurance benefits through their employer, they may be able to add you to their plan. Many plans allow for the addition of spouses, domestic partners, and dependents.
COBRA guarantees the right to remain on a former employer’s health plan for 18 months, with the option to extend coverage for another 18 months. However, you will be responsible for the full premium, which can be hefty in many cases.
If you belong to any professional associations such as the American Medical Association, AARP, or National Association for the Self-Employed, you may be able to obtain insurance as a locum tenens physician through their programs.
Independent agents and brokers.
If you would like personal help choosing a plan, then a local agent, broker, or assister might be the best choice for you. Several agencies can help find a local resource, including HealthCare.gov, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and the National Association of Health Underwriters.
Working as an independent contractor also has special financial considerations.
For example, independent contractors working as locum tenens physicians are required to pay taxes in their home state and the state in which they are performing their role. Don’t worry—often, a state tax credit is available to ease the burden of double state taxation.
Here are some things to consider adding to your financial strategy while doing locum tenens work:
Keep track of expenses.
Since independent contractors must complete a Schedule C with their IRS form 1040, they can deduct additional work-related expenses (provided they are not reimbursed by a staffing firm). These expenses can include:
· Travel costs
· Continuing education
· Home office expenses
Consider forming an LLC.
A limited liability company can have tax advantages for an independent contractor. Consult a tax professional to see if it would be a good fit for your business.
Claim health insurance premiums.
Independent contractors can deduct every cent of health insurance premiums from their adjusted gross income.
Contribute to retirement accounts.
Independent contractors can receive tax perks for contributing to retirement plans such as:
· Self-employed retirement plans
· SEP IRA
· Keogh Plan
· Traditional or Roth IRA
Choosing the right health insurance policy and creating a winning financial strategy can help you make the most of the high compensation you will receive for your work as a locum tenens physician. Annashae helps locum tenens physicians and other healthcare professionals with work-related costs like malpractice insurance and travel and lodging support while placing them in roles with competitive pay. Let us find your next match!
Disclaimer: Tax information is intended for reference purposes only. It should not be used either as a substitute for professional advice or judgment or to provide legal or other advice with respect to particular circumstances. Taxpayers should seek advice from a tax professional.