Disability Questions Every Doctor Should be Asking

Attention medical professionals! When was the last time you discussed disability insurance? Have you thought about the financial repercussions that could very easily become a reality for your family in the event that you are hurt or unable to work?

Here are a few questions every physician or professional in the medical field should be asking regarding disability insurance:

•    What if I can’t perform the typical duties of my occupation, but could do something different and still earn a lower income? Great question! There is something called “True Own-Occupation” for this situation, in which you could collect both the disability benefit as well as the new income.

•    What if I’m able to work just part-time or at a reduced income but not my usual full-time schedule? Glad you asked! There is “Partial Disability” which actually makes up the majority of claims industry-wide. This is when there is a partial or residual claim where the insured is working, but less than usual.  This rider makes sure it is not an “all or nothing” claim.

•    What if I want to change my coverage as my income increases over time? We like where you’re going with this! There is a “Future Increase Option” that gives you the ability to increase your monthly benefit typically every 3 years without future medical underwriting.

•    What about inflation between when I get my policy and claim time where I actually need the benefit? Another good one! You’re in luck. The “Indexing/Cost of Living Adjustment” rider is an option that keeps the monthly benefit current with inflation at claim time to avoid any gaps.

•    Are there exclusions for Mental/Nervous/Substance Abuse claims? Asking for a friend? Many carriers will limit these types of claims to 24 months but others will treat them like normal claims and pay out to the regular benefit period such as age 65, 70, etc.

•    Shouldn’t I get a discount for being a member of organizations like the Florida Medical Association? You deserve it! Some carriers offer up to a 10% discount to Florida Medical Association members.  Most carriers also offer a multi-life discount as well… typically when you have 3 or more people in the same practice, they will discount the rates from the unisex rates. This is usually about a 10-30% discount (higher discount for females since their premiums are already higher).

Your options with disability insurance are endless and vary on an individual basis. It may not be the most fun topic of conversation or you may think it won’t happen to you. But especially being in the medical field, it’s crucial to at least ask the questions. And it’s most important that you understand the value in this coverage and how serious protecting your family is.

Would your bills be covered if you were unable to work?

Often times, people underestimate the issues they may face if they’re out of work and their paycheck stops. Income Protection coverage could be a huge help… if you have it.

You probably have an insurance policy in place to cover your home, your car, your liability, even your life… but what about your income? Disability Insurance can help replace a portion of your paycheck if you are faced with an injury or illness that makes you unable to work. And unlike most insurance policies that pay the benefit directly to a provider or company, Disability Insurance is paid to YOU.

According to the Social Security Administration, one in four 20-year-olds will become disabled before age 67. One in five Americans (that’s over 60 million people!) live with a disability of some kind and one in ten of those disabilities is severe.

Speaking of Social Security, there are benefits there but tend to be rather modest. The average Social Security Disability Insurance payment is only about $1,165/month. Rest assured… You have options. Many employers that provide employee benefits offer short term and long term Disability coverage and typically at pretty competitive rates. However, there could be stricter guidelines or limitations when provided by an employer. You can also elect to purchase individual Income Protection coverage and protect a greater amount than you think.

You may not be able to predict the future but having a plan in place will make it much more pleasant for you and your family. As always, please reach out to us with any questions at (352)371-7977 or you can email Nick Deas at nick@mcgriffwilliams.com. We are happy to help and want you to feel as comfortable and protected as possible.