Preparation is extremely important in the life of a medical professional. Many physicians and surgeons do not enter their respective fields until their early to mid thirties. College years are spent preparing for examinations and the years in residency qualifying to learn how to manage patients. Many young medical professionals experience financial turmoil, accumulating loans and bills as they proceed through years of study. When they begin earning good incomes, most of the time any planning or preparing for disability, loss of income and/or retirement is least likely to be taken into consideration at that stage.
Physicians and Surgeons’ Disability Insurance Plans are designed to ensure that professionals working in the medical field will be able to maintain their standards of living in the event of an injury or illness which results in their inability to work. It is of primary importance that a physician or surgeon’s occupation or medical speciality is properly classified as this classification determines the premium rate. Premiums can vary greatly from one company to another, as different insurance companies may assign a different occupational class to the same occupation.
Some companies feel that if the above-mentioned medical specialists cannot practice their speciality, but decide to work in another capacity earning a similar income, he or she should not be entitled to receive disability benefits. It is wise to purchase a policy which is both Non-Cancellable and Guaranteed Renewable (i. e. contract that cannot be changed and premiums that cannot be raised). (Source: whitecoatinvestor.com)
“Own Occupation” coverage means that you continue to receive monthly income benefits until you are able to perform the specified duties of your speciality. It is not always available to Neurosurgeons, Orthopedic Surgeons, Anesthesiologists, Emergency Medicine Physicians and Thoracic Surgeons. Some companies feel that if the above-mentioned medical specialists cannot practice the specialty for which they were trained, but decide to work in another capacity earning a similar income, he or she should not be entitled to receive disability benefits.
“Loss of earnings” policy has become more common place in the industry today. It typically pays benefits if you are “unable to perform the substantial and material duties of your occupation and you are not working”. Unless your policy contains a residual disability rider, no benefits would be paid if you choose to work in another occupation or medical speciality.
Residual disability means that you are at work and not totally disabled under the terms of your policy, but due to sickness or injury, your loss of income is at least 20 percent of your prior income. This rider also states that if your loss of income were more than 75 percent of your prior earnings, the insurance company would regard your loss to be 100 percent and future benefits would be paid.
Residual disability: Examples of information that may be required to obtain Residual disability could be tax returns for the past 5 years, monthly profit and loss statements for the past 3 years and perhaps even bank account statements. Basically, aside from all the details asked, if you were working 50 percent of the time that you used to work and you are making 50 percent of your pre-disability earnings, then you would receive 50 percent of your benefit because you had a 50 percent loss of income. In simple terms, Residual Disability Benefits typically begin when the insured is able to return to their regular occupation in a limited capacity but have incurred a loss of earnings of at least 20 percent.
Partial Disability benefits are paid to the insured person who experienced a loss of time or duties due to a partial disability. The person will be eligible for a flat percentage of their monthly benefit which typically works out to a maximum of 50 percent. What if he/she no longer performs surgery? What if he/she had eyesight that started to fade or was confined to a wheelchair?
A disability is simply defined as an illness or injury that interferes with your ability to work. You want to have a contract that can never be changed or premiums that can never be increased. The definition of a good contract will read: if you cannot perform the material duties of your speciality, benefits will be paid.
With good disability insurance contracts if you could not perform your speciality because of an injury or illness and you engaged in any other occupation you would still receive your monthly benefit. Even if you were making a higher income in your new occupation, you would still receive your monthly disability benefit. Most good disability contracts will have extra policy riders you can purchase. Riders that would allow you to increase your coverage later in life regardless of your health. A residual rider that would pay benefits in the most realistic claim scenario of being partially disabled but still working in your own occupation. A cost of living rider ensures that if you were to go on to claim, your benefit would increase every year to keep pace with inflation. Insurance companies know from claims statistics that most claims involve partial disability where individuals are still working in their own occupation or in another occupation.