Emergency Physicians in particular understand the risk involved when it comes to disability insurance as they encounter situations daily when people are severely injured or sick.
So how do emergency physicians properly protect their income with individual disability insurance? Here is a primer on the critical elements in a disability policy:
1) Definition of disability. Look for a policy that will cover you if you are too sick or injured to work in your medical specialty. Companies have different names for this so it can cause confusion so here is a summary:
- Own Occupation. This means that if you are too sick or injured to work as an emergency physician, you will be paid a monthly benefit even if you are working in another occupation or medical specialty. Guardian, Standard and Ameritas call their definition “own occupation.”
- Regular Occupation. Principal Financial Group uses this name for the definition. It is the same as own occupation where there is no limit on how much you can earn in another specialty or occupation.
- Your Occupation. MetLife calls their definition of own occupation “your occupation.” It is not available to all emergency physicians. It depends on where you reside.
- Transitional Occupation or Transitional Your Occupation. MetLife calls their definition Transitional Your Occupation and Principal offers Transitional Occupation. This also covers you in your medical specialty. If you earn more than your pre-disability income while on claim, benefits will cease. If you choose to work elsewhere while on claim, you will continue to receive benefits until your income exceeds your pre-disability income.
- Own occupation for a limited benefit period. Be careful of policies that will only cover you in your occupation for a limited period of time such as 2 years. This is often not clearly stated on the illustration. This means that after 2 years on claim, you will not receive benefits if you are gainfully employed. This is available from a company that has agents of that company (name not disclosed here) but is aggressively sold.
2) Most emergency physicians’ income peaks around $300k. As such, you will most likely be fine if you purchase a policy from only one company as the current limit on policies is $15k/month. If you are working for a hospital or a group that has a group policy, you may supplement your policy and will most likely not exceed that $15k/month limit.
3) If you work for a hospital, look for available discounts. This can save you significantly, especially if the policy is adjustable. This allows you to continue with the discounts even if you ever leave that hospital and increase your benefits.
4) If you are a women emergency physician, look for unisex rates like those through Set for Life Insurance. This will save you approximately 55% or more on your insurance rates.
For more information about disability insurance for emergency physicians or to request a personal quote comparison, contact Set for Life Insurance today!