Steven Babitsky, Esq.
Physicians who are contemplating retirement should consider and plan for post-retirement supplemental income. Careful planning can provide the physician with many post-retirement options. Retiring first and then seeking additional income can result in significant lost opportunities. Here are some of the many opportunities for supplemental income for physicians considering retirement.
Expert Witness Work
One of the more lucrative and interesting opportunities for physicians is acting as an expert witness. This work generally consists of reviewing medical and other records, writing reports, and testifying at depositions and occasionally at trial. Medical expert witnesses can testify in personal injury, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, patents, and many other types of litigation.
Medical expert witnesses routinely charge $500-$1,000 per hour.
Considerations Prior to Retiring
Physicians considering this type of work will want to maintain their medical licenses and when possible, their board certifications. Prior to retirement, the physician will want to acquaint themselves with the active clinical practice requirements for medical witnesses. Each state has its own distinct requirements ranging from requiring only an active medical license to their states requiring that the physician be in active clinical practice 50% or more of the time. In some instances, part time work, telemedicine, volunteer work, research, or teaching may satisfy the state requirement. Knowing the rule in your state will help you to plan your retirement so that you can still meet the active clinical practice requirement for medical witnesses.
For a state by state review of the requirements for medical witnesses, see this link: https://www.testifyingtraining.com/active-clinical-practice-requirements-medical-expert-witnesses/
Disability and File Review Work
Performing file reviews/utilization reviews, and disability reviews can be interesting, lucrative, and actually make you a better clinician. Physicians are called upon to review medical records provided electronically and answer the questions presented by the file review company.
Physicians performing file/utilization reviews get paid by either the hour ($100-$200 per hour) or by the case (dependent upon the size of the file).
Utilization and File Review
The file review companies generally require that the physician have an “active clinical practice” and board certification. The active clinical practice can often be met by part-time work, volunteering, telemedicine, research, or teaching.
Physicians performing disability reviews for disability review companies are generally required to have an active clinical practice and board certification. However, reviewers who work directly for insurance companies (either inhouse or remotely) may not need board certification or an active clinical practice.
Physicians who desire independence, the ability to set their fees as they see fit and select clients of their choosing often start a consulting practice. These physician consultants assist businesses, payors, providers, industry, and others to deal with and solve problems.
Physician consultants generally charge one of three ways:
- Charging by the hour is common ($500+ per hour).
- Flat fee per assignment.
- Monthly retainer until the assignment is complete.
Considerations Prior to Retiring
Physicians acting as a consultant do not need an active medical license or board certification. They will eventually need a “niche” and the ability to problem solve for their clients.
Physician Life Care Planning
Physician life care planners deal with seriously injured parties and help determine their current and future medical and ancillary needs. They estimate the current and future costs and medical expenses. The life care planner provides a written report (life care plan) and testifies about the plan when called upon.
Physician life care planners usually charge one of two ways:
- A flat fee for a plan; ranging from $2,500-$25,000 depending upon the complexity of the case.
- Hourly; $350-$900 per hour.
Physicians who are contemplating retirement are well-served by considering the various supplemental income opportunities prior to their retirement. Transitioning to a supplemental income career can be intellectually fulfilling and lucrative as well.
About the Author
Steven Babitsky, Esq. is the President of SEAK, Inc. and has helped create and teach many of the SEAK supplemental income for physician courses. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-548-9443. For additional information about supplemental income for physicians please visit www.supplementalincomeforphysicians.com.