Defining Disability for Physicians with Long COVID

Defining Disability for Physicians with Long COVID

A circular shape of the Coronavirus, with triangular shapes protruding from its surface. The coronavirus can cause a physician disability and financial hardship long after a COVID diagnosis fades away.

Diagnosing long COVID is like extracting a tooth from a thrashing shark. It’s hard to get ahold of among a lot of moving parts. But beyond the diagnosis, a SARS-CoV-2 infection threatens more than one’s health. It also affects one’s earning power.

According to a recent cross-sectional study of more than 16,000 Americans with a prior positive COVID test, 15% reported symptoms of long COVID. Physicians aren’t immune.

Attempting to push through debilitating brain fog, fatigue, and shortness of breath while recovering from their own of SARS-CoV-2 infections during a demanding workday has caused suffering physicians—particularly specialists required to perform intricate procedures—to threaten not only patient care, but their own earning power.

And opting to go on disability to fully recover isn’t a surefire way to protect that earning power.

Why? Not all disability insurance policies define disability the same way. And words matter.

Disability Defined

Federal and group insurance policies define total disability to qualify for full benefits as the inability to perform any job in any capacity. Anything less disqualifies a person from receiving benefits. This is bad news for anyone long COVID has diminished.

But challenging definitions are especially hard on high-earning specialists who signed on to policies that define their occupation as simply “physician” and not “specialist”.

Why? The carrier has complete control over how they leverage their definition of disability.

According to most private disability insurance companies, a “physician” can perform a wide range of jobs that require medical training, thus making it difficult to collect a disability payout. Depending on the way your chosen insurance company has structured your policy, they can determine in what capacity you are or are not fit to practice your current or alternative occupation and how that affects your ability to collect your full benefit.

“Own” + “Occupation” = Larger Benefits, More Freedom

But there is a term that prevents disability insurance carriers from ripping off high-earning specialists suffering from disabling conditions like long COVID:  “Own occupation”.

“Own Occupation” is an occupation-specific definition that overrides a carrier’s definition of your current occupation and their ability to determine which alternative occupation you have the capacity to perform and how much money you will earn.

InsuranceMD’s True Own Disability uses your specialty description to offer the most flexibility with the highest payouts. It allows you to choose what job you will perform on what terms and still receive your entire benefit. No matter how much you earn from your alternative occupation.

Long COVID is difficult to diagnose and difficult to navigate. But it doesn’t have to send you to the poor house.

Contact InsuranceMD

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