Broker Check

Your Guide to Physician Disability Insurance

<strong>Safeguarding Your Financial Health</strong>

Safeguarding Your Financial Health

Disability insurance can seem complex. We help simplify the process and guide you towards determining which carrier is right for you through our physician disability insurance comparison summary.

Just as if our Twin Oak team members read your Board Exam materials, some of the terms used on this page might not be very clear to you. If that’s the case, please check out our definitions page.

Why Pick Up Disability Insurance?

Disability Insurance is an umbrella term that can mean several different things. Your employer offers coverage, the AMA offers coverage, and so do several other associations and companies. Where they differentiate from each other is the actual definition of disability.

Employers will typically offer some type of long-term disability insurance. However, to cover everyone at the hospital under the same policy, they often broaden the definition of disability for doctors to make this feasible.

Most group disability insurance policies have a definition of disability that says something like “the inability to perform ANY occupation for ANY wage.” Once you are an employee, a lot of employers automatically enroll their physicians into their group insurance and may not give you the option to opt out. You can use this group disability insurance to supplement the True Own-Occupation disability insurance you have on the private side.

We need something that is actually going to pay a benefit when you need it and follow you throughout your career. Why stick with less adequate coverage that may cost less, but may dodge you when it comes time to pay up?

Our Approach to Disability Insurance

True Own-Occupation Definition

As you progress in your career, specialize or change roles, the definition of disability will also grow. This is an essential feature for physicians. Double dip refers to the ability to earn an income while on a disability claim. Let’s say you could re-train, teach or work in another occupation altogether - any income you earn will NOT offset the disability insurance benefit you are receiving.

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Carriers at Play

There are five disability insurance carriers who offer the true double dip own-occupation type of protection for physicians. No one carrier is best because there are several factors that go into which carrier might be best for YOU. We run an objective comparison summary of all 5 tailored specifically for doctors.

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Disability Benefit Amount

If you have a disability claim and can't work, we'll help determine your disability benefit amount. For physicians in training, all five carriers offer an initial monthly $5,000 tax-free disability benefit.

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Future Purchase Option

Each disability carrier can offer initial benefits and future increase, even if your health changes. Getting physician disability insurance earlier can help you purchase more disability benefits.

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Elimination Period

If you've lost income due to a disability, a 60, 90, 180 or 360-day elimination period must pass before you start receiving your disability benefit. We've found a 90-day elimination period is optimal.

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The “Other Riders”

These are the other riders that we include on the physician disability insurance comparison summary.

Residual and Recovery Disability Benefit:

3/4 of claims are considered partial claims, meaning you can still do most of your daily duties but are limited in terms of workload. Examples include back injury or severe migraines.

Having a quality Residual and Recovery Benefit is important, especially one that doesn’t require Total Disability first. Some disability insurance policies require that you are totally disabled for 90 days to qualify for a ‘partial claim’ to return to work in a limited capacity. We include a true residual and recovery benefit to all of our disability insurance quotes and comparison summaries that does not require you to be totally disabled before qualifying for a partial claim.

Non-Cancelable and Guaranteed Renewable:

These two combined can have the greatest guarantees. Your policy can’t be taken from you (unless you don’t pay premiums), the definitions can never be changed and your premiums can never be increased.

Our doctors often think that this means they are unable to cancel their policy at any time. Non-Cancelable refers to the carriers’ ability to cancel your disability insurance policy, or in this case, their inability to cancel it.

Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA):

This is an especially important disability insurance feature for doctors under age 45. Due to inflation, your purchasing power with your monthly disability benefit can decrease if you're on a disability claim for an extended amount of time. The more earning years ahead of you, the more significant this is.

With the COLA feature, your monthly benefits will keep up with inflation while on claim. There are varying levels of COLA (3%, 6%, 7%). We typically add at least the 3% COLA, meaning your disability benefit will increase by 3% per year to keep up with inflation while on claim.

Additional Features that We May Not Include in Your Physician Disability Insurance Comparison Summary:

Please check out our additional disability insurance features page to learn more about features that most physicians will add to their disability insurance policy on top of the basic plan mapped out above.

<strong>We Are Here to Help</strong>

We Are Here to Help

If one of our risk management specialists has already run your disability insurance quote, we're here to answer any questions you might still have. You can also read our blog here if you'd like to see the most common questions from our doctors. The next step is to apply to the carrier that’s offering the right type of disability insurance for you.