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Disability benefits help protect and replace income if you become disabled. It provides benefits that replace a major portion of your salary if you're out of work due to a qualified illness or injury.
You can use the benefits to help pay for housing or any of your usual expenses -- things you might have to cut back on or pay for with savings if you are unable to earn.
It is important for physicians to consider the value in obtaining "own occupation" disability insurance coverage that protects the ability to work in their chosen medical specialty. Most own occupation disability insurance policies define a disability as the inability to work in your regular occupation due to an injury or illness.
- The type of disability contract: A "non-cancelable" disability contract guarantees that a company cannot cancel a policy or change the rates, as long as you continue to pay the premiums on time. A "guaranteed renewable" disability policy guarantees that the terms of your policy can't be changed, however premiums may be changed after a certain period (generally 2 to 3 years) and only if the change applies to all policies with similar benefits in your risk class. A third type of contract, often called an "optionally renewable" disability policy, is one that can be canceled by the company at renewal time, and may require you to have periodic physical exams. The contract that guarantees the most generally demands a higher premium.
- The waiting period: You select the amount of time you will wait before you receive your first disability payment. Generally, the longer the waiting period, the lower the premiums. Typical waiting periods are 30, 60, 90, 180, 365, 730 days.
- The benefit amount: The amount of monthly benefit you apply for directly relates to your premium. Generally, the higher the benefit, the higher the premium.
- The benefit period: The maximum length of time benefits will be paid. Your choices are typically 2 years, 5 years or to your normal retirement age. Generally, the longer the benefit period, the higher the premium.
- Your current health status and medical history: If you have a current health issue or previous injury, you may still qualify. An underwriter looks at each individual application and determines the risk factor. Some pre-existing conditions may be accepted with an exclusion amendment added to your policy (i.e.- a previous knee injury).
Everyone needs some kind of coverage, which will replace most of their Income in case they cannot work due to disability. When people without Disability Insurance become disabled, Income stops or is reduced, and savings are drained. Some exceptions are those with high levels of investment income, students, or individuals whose spouse continues to provide enough income to cover expenses.
The best time to buy Disability Insurance is when you are young, in training and in good health. This is because eligibility and premium rates are based on your age and how healthy you are. You should buy sooner rather than later as our health tends to deteriorate as we get older.
In order to receive preferred rates, you must be in excellent overall health and lead a healthy lifestyle. Each Insurance company determines limits on weight to height, cholesterol, blood pressure, and other medical status. Family health history is also a factor used in qualifying for low preferred rates. Factors like Tobacco Use, Alcohol or Drug abuse, Hazardous activities and pre-existing medical conditions are considered together when determining your insurability.
You need enough coverage to provide you with sufficient income to live on until you are able to return to work or receive other financial resources (retirement, social security, etc.). The benefits you purchase through a Disability policy is quoted as monthly income that you receive if disabled. Consider your monthly income after taxes, now and in the future, as the base amount you would need. In addition to the monthly amount, an individual needs to consider the length of time you want to collect benefits, and when you would need them to begin.
An elimination period is a period beginning when a member becomes eligible to receive payments and ending when payments start to be paid. Also known as Deductible Period or Waiting Period.
If you pay the premium with after-tax income (net income), the monthly benefit will not be taxed. If you choose to deduct your premiums, the monthly benefit will be taxed during a period of disability. Also, if your employer pays the premium for you, the monthly benefit will be taxed.
Pre-existing conditions can be excluded from the policy if you have received medical treatment prior to applying for disability insurance. Exclusions can be issued on either a temporary (also known as Qualified Conditional Rider) or permanent basis. In some instances, exclusions can be removed from the policy at the policy anniversary date.
There are no additional costs in purchasing disability insurance through DrDisabilityQuotes.com. The cost of the policy is exactly the same as if you went through the insurance company directly. We can help you understand which company may suit you best as well as help you determine the value of optional benefit riders available on the policies.
- Policy can be canceled or changed at any time.
- Policy is generally not portable if you decide to leave employer.
- Restricted definitions of disability - own occupation definition generally not included.
- Taxable benefits.
- Policy cannot be canceled or changed as long as premiums are paid.
- Policy is portable no matter where you are in the country.
- Own Occupation disability benefits available to age 65 or 67.
- Non-taxable benefits as long as policy premiums are paid with after-tax dollars.
Underwriting is the process by which an Insurance Company examines, accepts, or rejects insurance risks so as to charge the proper premium for the coverage. The insurance company will review:
- Current Insurance Physical
- Past medical history (physicians seen, medication taken)
- Financial records (pay stub/tax returns - to justify the disability amount applied for)
- Telephone Interview
The underwriting process generally takes three weeks to two months from the time we receive all completed paperwork. The average time is one month. Most of the time spent in underwriting is collecting information (medical records, tax returns, etc.) the underwriter needs to make an informed decision.
A brief medical exam is required for the purchase of disability coverage. The exam is paid for by the insurance company and performed by a Paramedical Professional service at your home or office. The exam may include a physical exam, blood work, urine analysis and in some cases, an EKG. The results are sent directly to the underwriter for review along with the proposed insured’s application. A copy of the exam is available upon request.
Yes, but it depends on the type and severity of the medical problems. The insurance company can utilize 3 options:
- Charge a higher premium for the policy
- Exclude the condition from the policy
- Decline insurance altogether
The residual benefit pays you a partial benefit in the event you suffer a partial disability. The percentage of your benefit paid is typically proportionate to your loss of income. This feature triggers a benefit at 15 to 20% loss of Income due to illness or injury.
An enhancement to a disability plan that would increase the monthly benefit by the CPI not to exceed a ceiling of typically 3% or 6% compounded or simple interest per year during a claim. This would only be triggered during a claim so it becomes important to keep disability benefits up to date through annual reviews. This rider is designed to prevent inflation from eroding at your benefit.
This allows a physician to increase their disability policy up to the stated maximum without having their health re-examined by the Insurance Company on the anniversary date. This is a very important rider for newer physicians wanting to protect a projected higher income since their health status could change making them ineligible for increased coverage in the future without this rider. A physician would still need to prove their higher income through W-2s and/or tax returns to qualify for the increased coverage.
This rider can provide a monthly benefit in addition to any other disability benefit payments under the policy if you are catastrophically disabled:
- Unable to perform two or more of the activities of daily living without human standby assistance; or
- Cognitively impaired; or
- Irrecoverably disabled