Covid-19 Support For Physicians With Income Decreases By More Than 30%

The Ontario Ministry of Health published bulletin 4754 on April 22, 2020 (see link below):

In this bulletin, the Ontario Ministry of Health (Ministry) has outlined a plan to financially assist physicians whose income is down by 30% or more.

This Advance Payment Program is automatic for physicians who are individual billers – they are automatically opted-in. According to the bulletin and our conversations with the Ministry, they will automatically provide top ups for any physician whose billings decreased by more than 30% in April 2020 versus the 12-month average of billings from April 2019 to March 2020.

For physicians whose income has dropped more than 30%, the Ministry will provide top ups to them up to 70% of their monthly average billings. They will be doing this for three months (billings paid in May, June and July). Physicians who receive any such support will need to repay the amount advanced to them starting in November 2020. The Ministry will recover the advance equally from future OHIP payments over 5 months (Nov 2020 to March 2021). No interest will be applied to the advances.

Example, a physician whose average billings were $20k per month from April 2019 to March 2019, now finds that their March 2020 billings have decreased to $10k. The Ministry will automatically top them up by $4k on May 14th, 2020 (next billing payment). Furthermore, if this decrease continues for 3 months, this physician would receive an advance total of $12k. Starting in November 2020, the Ministry will start to recover the advanced payments by 1/5 per month, or in this case, $2,400 per month. Assuming this was only a temporary decrease in billings and this physician returned to $20k per month billing by November 2020, they would receive $17.6k instead of $20k per month from November 2020 to April 2020.

The decision to opt out of receiving these payments is personal and unique. These advances are pre-payments of future billings to provide an immediate cash flow advantage during these difficult times. However, starting in November when billings should have returned to normal, advances will need to be paid back (over a 5-month period) and cash flow at that time would be reduced.

If a physician would like to opt-out, they need to call the Ministry and provide their billing number. It is too late at this time to opt out for May, but still doable for June and July.

The number to call to opt out is 1-800-262-6524.

Anyone who has group billings should contact the Ministry of Health for more information on how this could apply to them.

Please do not hesitate to contact your Tall Oak Private Wealth team to discuss how this might affect your personal situation as we remain just a phone call away.

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