Top 10 Questions Physicians Ask: Disability Insurance–ANSWERED
Jun 4, 2023
Jamie Fleischner

Jamie Fleischner

4 Jun, 2023

What are the top 10 questions physicians should ask when looking for disability insurance? We have answers!

  1. What is the definition of disability? This is the most important component of a disability policy, especially for physicians. It is critical that your policy has an own occupation definition of disability. This states that if due to sickness or injury, you can’t work in your medical specialty, you will be paid your benefits even if you can work in another specialty or occupation. There will be no reduction in benefits. Some policies offer even more specific language for surgeons where they consider you to be totally disabled if you cannot perform surgery.
  2. What is the waiting/elimination period? The waiting period refers to the amount of time a physician must be disabled before they become eligible for benefits. The most cost effective and common elimination period is 90 days.
  3. What is the benefit period? The benefit period determines how long the policy will pay benefits if the physician is disabled. The most common benefit period is to age 65 or 67. Some physicians who purchase their policies when they are in their 50s may consider a 5 or 10 year benefit period to help reduce the premium and cover their vulnerable years.
  4. What is the benefit amount? Physicians want to know how much they will receive in disability benefits if they become disabled. Medical residents may purchase up to $5000/month benefit regardless of income. Graduating residents/fellows may purchase up to $7500/month benefit. Thereafter, the company will determine the amount of eligible monthly based on your income and group benefits through your employer. Typically, physicians may be able to cover approximately 80% of their after tax take home pay.
  5. Are there any exclusions or limitations? Some medical specialties such as emergency physicians and anesthesiologists have a 2 year limitation for mental illness. All policies in California have this limitation. Otherwise, the company will determine based on your individual situation if there are any pre-existing conditions that will be excluded.
  6. Are the benefits taxable? Individual policies are tax free so long as the premiums are paid out of a personal account using after tax dollars. Most employer sponsored policies are taxable if the employer is paying the premium.
  7. What is the cost of the policy? The cost will be based on your age, gender, medical specialty and state of residence. Look for discounts available to help defray the cost.
  8. Are there any policy riders or additional options available? The most important riders to ensure are on your policy are: own occupation, residual (partial disability), COLA, cost of living rider and increase options (the ability to increase your policy in the future without further medical questions.
  9. What is the claims process like? When a claim occurs, the company will require you to complete a form initiating the process. The company will request financial documents and medical records from your treating doctor.
  10. What is the reputation and financial strength of the insurance company? Look at the company’s AM Best ratings to determine the financial strength of the company.

For more information about physician disability insurance or to request a quote, contact Set for Life Insurance 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!