Should graduating medical residents purchase disability insurance prior to graduation?
Apr 20, 2012
Jamie Fleischner

Jamie Fleischner

20 Apr, 2012

Should graduating medical residents purchase disability insurance prior to graduation?

Graduating medical residents may purchase up to $5000/month of individual disability insurance regardless of income or group disability insurance in force. Some companies allow surgical specialists including anesthesiologists to purchase up to $7500/month benefit.

Medical residents within 180 days of graduation are eligible to purchase up to $5000/month benefit without income verification. Surgical specialists may purchase up to $7500/month regardless of income or group disability benefits in force.

To qualify for the discount, applications must be submitted prior to graduation.

What to look for in a disability policy for medical residents and physicians:

  • Specialty specific language. Also known as “own occupation” or “regular occupation” (depending on the company). This means the policy will pay you benefits if you cannot work in your medical specialty, even if you can work in another specialty or occupation.
  • Non cancelable, guaranteed renewable .This means that once you have your policy, the company can never raise your rates or modify your policy. Most association plans do not have this feature, leaving the premiums precarious to large premium increases in the future.
  • Discounts. If you are able to obtain the same policy for less, take advantage of this opportunity.
  • High company ratings. Look for companies with an A+ or better rating from AM Best to ensure company stability.

There are several advantages for medical residents to purchase a policy prior to graduation:

1)    No financial requirements. Once residency is complete, physicians must prove income with financial documentation and the benefit amount is limited to income and any group disability benefits are in force. This may reduce the amount of available benefit.

2)    *Discounts. If you are working for a hospital that has an available discount, you may lock in your discount prior to graduation and carry it with you throughout your career.

3)    If you are going on to a riskier specialty, it is best to purchase your benefit while still in residency. For example, if you are finishing your residency in general pediatrics and are moving on to a riskier specialty such as cardiology, you will save significantly if you purchase your policy when you are still working as a general pediatrician. Even though you will be paying a lower rate, the policy will still cover you in your subspecialty at the time of claim.

*Discounts are available through Set for Life Insurance from multiple companies. These discounts offer between 10-55% depending on the company and gender (women tend to see a greater discount on unisex policies as they pay significantly more on the non discounted policies). To receive the Set for Life Insurance discounted rates, applications need to be submitted through Set for Life Insurance while still employed at the discounted institution.

These include (but are not limited to):

  • Medical College of Georgia
  • University of Maryland
  • St. Joseph’s Hospital
  • St. Anthony’s Medical Center
  • Denver Health Medical Center
  • University of Washington
  • Carolinas Medical Center
  • Duke University
  • Drexel University
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Tennessee
  • University of Utah
  • Oregon Health and Science
  • Vanderbilt University
  • University of Virginia
  • Louisiana State University
  • University of Louisville
  • Johns Hopkins
  • Princeton University
  • University of Texas
  • Baylor University
  • Louisiana State University
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Washington
  • Massachusetts General
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Mount Sinai Medical Center
  • Albert Einstein Medical Center
  • Boston University
  • Ohio State University
  • Oregon Health Sciences
  • University of Arizona
  • Emory University
  • Tulane University
  • University of Chicago
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • University of Iowa
  • Reading Hospital
  • Medical University of South Carolina
  • University of North Carolina
  • Eastern Carolina University


If your program is not listed, please contact Set for Life to learn about setting up a discount at your program.

For more information about medical resident physician disability insurance or to request a quote comparison, contact the Set for Life Insurance office today!


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Getting the right disability insurance can be downright confusing. At Set For Life, we’ll help you understand the options and work with you to select just the right product for you and your family. These articles will help you understand some of the complexities involved, but we’re happy to walk you through it! If you’re ready to get set, reach out for a quote today!