Understanding Disability Insurance for CRNAs: Key Questions Answered
Apr 2, 2024
Jamie Fleischner

Jamie Fleischner

2 Apr, 2024

Disability insurance stands as a critical safeguard for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs). As CRNAs navigate the complexities of securing their financial future against unforeseen health issues, several pivotal questions often emerge.

Here’s an insightful exploration into the most pressing inquiries CRNAs have about disability insurance:

  1. Essentials of Disability Insurance: What exactly does disability insurance entail, and why is it pivotal for CRNAs? If you are a CRNA and are dependent on your income, it is critical that you protect your income with a proper individual disability insurance policy. Disability insurance will pay you a monthly income if you are too sick or injured to work.
  2. The Importance for CRNAs: CRNAs have a very physically demanding profession. An injury or illness could keep them from being able to work. A lot of CRNAs are also independent contractors and do not have disability insurance through their employer. Therefore they are reliant on their own income and to protect it.
  3. Coverage Scope: What types of disabilities and conditions are covered under these insurance policies? By definition, a CRNA needs to be too sick or injured to work. This can range from a back injury, carpel tunnel syndrome, migraines to cancer.
  4. Cost Factors: How much can CRNAs expect to invest in disability insurance, and what factors influence the price? If you are protecting your income without a group policy, men should expect to pay about 1-3% of their income to protect themselves. Women should expect to pay about 2-4% of their income. Cost is based on several factors including age, riders and amount of benefit.
  5. Definition of Disability: How do insurance providers define ‘disability,’ and why does it matter? The best definition is own occupation. This states that if you can’t work as a CRNA, it will pay you a benefit even if you can work in another occupation or specialty.
  6. Own Occupation Versus Any Occupation: What’s the difference, and how does it impact coverage for CRNAs? Own occupation is very important. Association plans and most group plans have an “any occupation” definition which states that they will only pay benefits if you aren’t working and are not capable of working in any occupation. This can be very limiting.
  7. Duration of Benefits: For how long do the benefits extend in the event of a disability? You may choose a 5 year benefit, 10 year benefit, age 65, age 67 and age 70. The most common is an age 65 policy. If you are purchasing your policy past the age of 50, you may consider a 5 year policy to help reduce the premium.
  8. Waiting Period: What’s the timeline between a disability’s onset and the commencement of benefit payments? Most policies have a 90 day or 180 day elimination period.
  9. Policy Exclusions: Are there specific conditions or scenarios that aren’t covered? All policies for CRNAs have a 2 year mental limitation. This means if you have a claim related to a psychological illness such as depression or addiction, it will only pay those benefits for up to 24 months. Otherwise, the company will determine if there is something in your medical history where they will exclude a pre-existing condition.
  10. Claim Process: What steps must be taken to file a claim, and what documentation is required? Claims require contacting the company, retrieving financial documents and medical records from your treating doctor.
  11. Premium Stability: Do premiums remain constant over time, or is there potential for an increase? Individual policies have premiums that are locked in and guaranteed for the life of the policy. Association plans have increasing premiums based on your age.
  12. Group Versus Individual Policies: How do these policy types compare, and what are the benefits and drawbacks of each? Individual policies have an own occupation definition of disability, fixed and guaranted rates and are portable. Group policies are typically taxable, require you to be totally disabled and are not portable if you leave.
  13. Tax Implications: Are disability insurance benefits subject to taxation? Employer policies that are paid for through the employer are taxable. Individual policies paid for by an individual are tax free at the time of claim.
  14. Career Changes: How does changing jobs or specialties affect coverage? Once you have your policy, it will cover you in whatever you are doing at the time of claim. For instance if you purchase your policy while you are a CRNA but are working in an executive role at the time of claim, it will cover you if you can’t do executive duties.
  15. Partial Disability Coverage: Is there an option for coverage if a CRNA can still work but only in a limited capacity? Yes. Residual riders require only a 15% or 20% loss of income to trigger a claim.

Addressing these questions can empower CRNAs to make informed decisions about their disability insurance needs, ensuring they’re adequately protected against the unpredictable, allowing them to focus on their critical role in healthcare with peace of mind.

For more information about CRNA 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!