Over the past decade, the medical field has undergone significant transformations, leading to a decline in self-employed physicians and a rise in physicians transitioning to employment within institutionalized medicine. Unfortunately, this shift has given rise to a common misconception among physicians regarding disability insurance coverage. Many doctors are either opting out of purchasing individual own specialty disability insurance for physicians or canceling their existing coverage, mistakenly relying on their employer’s long-term disability insurance. It is crucial to understand the limitations of employer-provided disability plans and the immense importance of true own specialty policies.
True Own Disability Insurance for Physicians vs. Employer Provided Group Disability
Although employer-provided disability plans may seem appealing due to their seemingly cost-free nature, they pale in comparison to the comprehensive coverage provided by own specialty policies. Typically, employer plans only cover the base salary, often capped around $10,000 per month, and the benefits received are subject to regular income tax when the premiums are paid by the employer. Moreover, these plans define total disability as the inability to work in the medical specialty with no alternative sources of income. Should a physician choose to work in a different occupation, they would no longer be considered totally disabled.
Most employer plans also incorporate a 24-month clause, which allows them to evaluate the physician’s skills after two years of benefit payment. If the insurance company deems the physician capable of performing another reasonable occupation, they will cease benefit payments. Additionally, many employer plans do not cover work-related injuries or illnesses, and they lack portability if the physician decides to switch employers. Furthermore, partial disability benefits are usually only granted after a consecutive period of at least 90 days of total disability, making it unrealistic to claim benefits for partial disabilities.
The Benefits of Own Specialty Disability Insurance
It cannot be stressed enough how critical it is for physicians to protect their income potential in the medical specialty they have worked so diligently to achieve. This protection can only be guaranteed by purchasing individual own specialty coverage offered by the six insurance carriers: Ameritas, Guardian, MassMutual, Mutual of Omaha, Principal, and The Standard. It is vital to note that organizations such as the AMA, ACOG, ACP, ACS, and Northwestern Mutual do not offer true own specialty disability insurance. Their plans fall short as they only pay physicians their full disability benefit if they have no other sources of income during a disability.
While there is a cost associated with owning own occupation disability insurance, the benefits are truly invaluable. Annual premiums typically range from 2% to 6% of your annual gross income, depending on the age at which the policy is purchased. However, if you cherish the effort you have invested in becoming a physician and depend on your income, going without True Own Occupation disability insurance is simply not an option. Relying solely on employer plans for protection is a risky decision. By investing in an individual own specialty policy, physicians can effectively safeguard their income potential and ensure unwavering financial stability in the face of unforeseen circumstances.
At InsuranceMD, thousands of physicians across the country place their trust in us to ensure they obtain True Own Occupation/Specialty disability insurance. What sets us apart is that we do all the shopping for you. We assess your needs and eligibility for coverage, while taking the time to educate you. We diligently compare the offerings of the six carriers, to find the most comprehensive policy at the best cost when providing disability insurance quotes. We employ state-of-the-art secure technology to ensure your information remains safe. Whether you choose to work with us or have your own trusted advisor, it is of utmost importance that you purchase disability insurance from one of the six own specialty carriers, ensuring you obtain their best definition of total disability in an own occupation context.
If you are unsure about what this means or how to determine if you are getting the best own occupation coverage available, please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com. I am more than happy to assist you in any way I can.