Long Term Disability Insurance is essential to any physician’s financial safety and security because your career income is by far your greatest asset. The process of becoming a doctor is rewarding in time but is an ultimate investment. You will train for years on a limited salary and many will struggle under the weight of student loans. The financial rewards of putting in this time outweigh the few years of medical school, residency and even fellowship. This is only assuming you’re capable of working.
If you develop an unexpected medical condition, whether it’s a sickness or injury, that prevents you from working, your obligations won’t just disappear but your income will. You still need to pay for student loans, a mortgage, support for the family, and normal lifestyle expenses. Medical professionals are at a unique risk for this situation, especially those who specialize in procedures and interventional duties. This is why Disability Insurance is extremely important to be fully protected without depleting your savings account.
Disability Insurance Available for Students, Residents, and Fellows
The Top 5 insurance carriers have special underwriting programs that allow residents and fellows to obtain a monthly benefit ranging from $5,000 during training, to $6,500 or $7,500 in their graduating year. You can secure coverage during training to lock in your health, age, state, etc. Although $5,000 monthly benefit may not be enough when you are making 5x your training income, obtaining a plan now will allow you to use a future increase rider to increase the benefit amount as an attending in the future, without any medical underwriting! At the time of increase, you will just need to prove income and other long-term disability coverage you hold.
Call 973-771-9100 or request a disability insurance quote today to review the options available to you. At DrDisabilityQuotes.com, we have leveraged our decades’ worth of relationships with select carriers to deliver 10 to 30% Discounts for Residents & Fellows. Note you must submit your application to secure discounting prior to the 90th day after the last day of finishing your training. For example, if you finish residency on June 30th, you can still secure discounting if you submit an application by September 30th.
This is the best time to obtain long-term disability insurance, while you are still healthy and can get the maximum discount available for each company.
After we send you quotes from the Top 5 insurance carriers, we will consult you on the fine detail, help you understand the differences between all the companies, and answer any questions.
Riders & Language to Search For
- Non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable
- Definition of total disability and medical specialty wording – Own Occupation
- Residual disability rider with enhanced recovery benefits
- Future increase option rider to accommodate increases in your income
- Cost of Living Adjustment rider
FAQS Concerning Disability Insurance for Resident Physicians
No one plans to become disabled, but the sad fact is that 1 in 4 of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before retirement.
There is no doubt that much of your time is already spent on long shifts, sleepless nights, and intense residency programs. However, finding a disability insurance policy is now easier than ever, and taking the time to choose the best policy for you will help safeguard your future.
There are many causes of disability, including injuries, illnesses, and accidents. But you can secure steady income and peace of mind by investing in individual disability insurance. We have composed this FAQ list to answer the most common questions and help you find the best disability insurance for resident physicians:
What Discounts Am I Entitled to as a Resident?
As a student, resident or fellow, time is on your side. Disability insurance generally becomes more expensive as you get older, especially as health declines.
Not only will you be able to get the best premium rates now, but you can increase your coverage later as your income grows, without undergoing additional medical assessment. Additionally, you may qualify for discounts based on your training program or specialty.
Why Should Residents Buy Individual Disability Insurance?
Unfortunately, group disability policies don’t always provide the coverage you’ll need. There’s little room for personalization, and policies can be modified or canceled by the employer or insurance carriers. Furthermore, these policies may not be portable if you change employers. Group LTD will also offset their claim payments if you are receiving workers’ compensation, Social Security benefits, retirement benefits, lawsuit settlements, or even if you are gainfully employed in another occupation or specialty.
With individual disability insurance, you can customize a policy that fits your needs. These policies will be Guaranteed Renewable and NonCancelable, meaning the insurance company cannot change your definitions, provisions, premiums, or even cancel the policy in the future. Of course, you’ll be able to cancel the policy at any time without penalty or fees. Individual disability insurance will also have True Own Occupation language which will not offset the benefits you receive if you are working in another occupation or specialty after being disabled from your own specialty.
What Riders Should I Consider When Purchasing Disability Insurance as a Resident or Fellow?
There are several riders to consider when building your disability insurance policy, including:
- Partial, or Residual, Disability: These riders provide payout even if your disability allows you to continue working within your specialty. If you lose some income due to an injury or illness the policy will payout partial disability claims.
- Student Loan Repayment: Adding a student loan rider to your policy will help you pay back your student loans if you become disabled. This adds a separate monthly benefit that will be paid directly to your lender if you are disabled.
- True Own Occupation: True Own Occupation riders provide a payout if your disability prevents you from performing the duties of your specialty at the time of claim, even if you are gainfully employed in another occupation or specialty.
What Happens if I Subspecialize After Obtaining Disability Insurance as a Resident?
Some specialties and subspecialties are considered more hazardous than others. Therefore, different specialties will typically include different premiums. Premiums of policies are determined based on your specialty at the time of application.
For example, if you obtain a policy as an Internal Medicine resident, your policy will be priced for Internal Medicine. If you have secured a policy and then enter a fellowship for Interventional Cardiology, the premiums on your plan will not change even though Interventional Cardiology has a greater disability risk. This policy will also continue to cover you even if you change specialties. At the time of claim, the carrier will review the duties and specialty you were performing up to 12 months prior to that disability. If you were performing Interventional Cardiology at the time of claim, you are expected to be covered as an Interventional Cardiologist even if you obtained this policy as an Internal Medicine resident.
When Should Medical Students Start Considering Disability Insurance?
You should start looking at individual disability insurance policies as soon as possible.
Investing in the best disability insurance for resident physicians lets you safeguard your income. You have to consider financial responsibilities—including rental or housing costs, medical expenses, and student loans.
Remember, the earlier you enroll in a policy, the more affordable and accessible it will be.
I’m completely healthy now, why not wait until I’m an attending to secure a plan?
If you are healthy, this is the right time to secure a plan to lock in your health. As an attending physician, you will not be able to get the same discounting, your age change would result in price increases and, most importantly, you may not be insurable due to medical history.
I want to secure a plan but it’s too expensive on a resident/fellow salary, what can I do?
If you are asking yourself this question, we are more than happy to consult with you and help you customize the plans to best fit your needs, and budget.
Will getting my own individual coverage affect my group disability insurance?
No, getting individual coverage will not affect any group disability insurance you have. Since you are a resident or fellow, expect to lose the group’s long-term disability insurance when you complete training. If you need to collect claims during training, you can collect on both individual and group plans.
How does the application process work?
For residents and fellows, there will be no lab testing and proof of income required. All you need to do is electronically sign an application and complete a phone interview where you answer medical questions. The process for attendings are a bit more complicated as attending physicians need to complete lab testing and provide tax documentation showing income.