Physician Disability Insurance: Sub-specialties
By Jamie K. Fleischner, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF
President, Set for Life Insurance
Today I worked with an interventional cardiologist in Georgia (Dr. Heart) who needed clarification about how the own occupation definition would work for his specialty. He is board certified as a general cardiologist as well as an interventional cardiologist.
The own occupation definition of disability states that if due to sickness or injury, if you can’t work in your medical specialty, it will pay you a benefit even if you can work in another medical specialty or occupation. This is true for subspecialties as well. For Dr. Heart, the policy would pay him if he is no longer able to work as an interventional cardiologist even if he could work as a general cardiologist.
However, this also depends on where his income is derived from. For example, Dr. Heart said he works 50% of the time doing general work and the other 50% doing interventional. In this scenario, it depends on where his income is derived from. He derives 75% of his income from interventional work and 25% from cardiology. If he hurts himself and can’t do interventional work, he will have more than a 75% loss of income which would pay full benefits even if he decides to then do general cardiology 100% of the time when he is injured.
It also depends on what he is doing at the time of claim. A few years ago I had an anesthesiologist who purchased a policy when he was working as an anesthesiologist full time. 10 years later, at the time of claim, he was only practicing anesthesiology very part time since he was running a business. Less than 5% of his income was derived from anesthesiology. He had numbness in his hands and could no longer work as an anesthesiologist. However, since this only reduced his income by 5%, there was no claim.