Throwback Thursday Classic Post – My Guest Post on White Coat Investor – Disability Insurance for Military Physicians
Figured this is a good repeat due to the update we posted on Monday about disability insurance. Check out my guest post on the White Coat Investor site:
(Note: I receive no compensation if you use DI4MDs for your insurance needs. I continue to lose $99 per year on this blog.)
Disability insurance which protects military physicians and dentist’s greatest asset continues to be a very limited market with few insurance companies and agents providing this critical protection. The available plan options depend on which stage of your medical/dental career you are in.
For military physicians and dentists at any stage of their medical career, MassMutual will provide the recommended specialty specific / own occupation disability coverage. MassMutual continues to be the only company that offers a non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable policy to age 65 and is the first policy we recommend. This policy is now available in all states.
For military physicians and dentists who have completed training, Lloyd’s is also available and can work well as a supplement to MassMutual coverage or if there is a medical issue. However, the policy does not contain the same premium and renewability guarantees as MassMutual’s policy.
If you are a resident or fellow and are at least 60 days away from graduating, in addition to MassMutual another option is a policy with Ameritas. However, you should be aware that Ameritas does not cover disabilities resulting from military service when scheduled active duty is more than 3 months. You do have the option of suspending the policy. Suspending the policy locks in your current insurability but does not provide any coverage during the suspension (though no premiums would be due either).
If you are in medical school and more than 180 days away from starting a military residency, in addition to MassMutual and Ameritas you will be able to apply for a policy with Standard. However, Standard will not cover disabilities resulting from military training, action, or conflict. Like Ameritas, you have the option of suspending the policy. Principal and Guardian may also be available if you are still in medical school. However, unlike the voluntary suspension option with Ameritas and Standard, Principal and Guardian require that your policy be suspended once you enter active duty. All medical students can obtain disability coverage without income qualification.
One crucial fact to be aware of when obtaining disability coverage is the medical underwriting requirement. Since military medical exams are extremely thorough and document any medical condition it is important to establish coverage early in your medical career before any conditions or ailments appear. Depending on the medical condition you may be declined coverage, issued a policy with a waiver/exclusion for the pre-existing condition(s) or issued with an increased premium. Even a combination of the latter two is possible. This can be avoided if you apply now so you can have the protection you need later. A policy with an option that will allow you to purchase additional coverage in the future regardless of health can be established to fit any budget. A graded premium structure can also be used to reduce the initial premium outlay for residents and medical students.
There is no better time than now to establish the type of policy you need to protect your medical or dental career in the event of disability. Please contact us below to begin:
DI4MDS – Andy Borgia, CLU and D.K. Unger – www.DI4MDS.com
10505 Sorrento Valley Rd., #250
San Diego, CA 92121
858-523-7511 or 858-523-7529 after 5pm PT
Guest Post: Important Update Regarding Disability Insurance for Active Duty Military Doctors and Dentists
[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post/update from the company that was able to get me supplemental disability insurance (DI), which can be a challenge when you are Active Duty. I have no current financial relationship with them and they did not pay for this post, although in the past I received some restaurant gift cards when referring people to them. I asked them to provide it so they could explain recent changes in the disability insurance market for Active Duty personnel. If you want to read about DI, you can go to my Personal Finance page or some other posts like this one or this one.]
As you are likely aware, as a physician/dentist, your greatest asset is your ability to practice your specialty. Military physicians and dentists are not completely protected in the event they become disabled. Those who are informed of this risk exposure have been able to insure themselves by establishing individual disability insurance. Currently, there are two companies offering specialty specific coverage to military physicians/dentists; MassMutual and Lloyd’s of London. Of the two, MassMutual is the only one which offers a non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable policy to age 65. This type of policy cannot be canceled by the company, have its premiums and/or contractual provisions modified, exclusions added, etc. This is the type of policy we recommend to all physicians and dentists regardless of military status. MassMutual has eliminated this policy’s availability in all states except the following:
- New York
If you reside in one of these states and wish to protect yourself by obtaining the type of policy that will protect your medical career in the event of disability while you are in the military and while you are out, it is highly advisable to act now. To protect your medical career in the event of disability, please contact us below:
Andy G. Borgia, CLU (firstname.lastname@example.org)
D.K. Unger (email@example.com)
10505 Sorrento Valley Rd., # 250
San Diego, California 92121
858-523-7511 after 5pm
(EDITOR’S NOTE: While we have great benefits in the military, one area where our benefits fall short is disability insurance. If we were to be disabled on active duty, our disability pay would not reflect our physician bonuses and higher income. For years I struggled to find supplemental disability insurance. I used the American Medical Association plan because they’d give me up to $2500/month of additional coverage and it was all I could find. That was until I contacted Andy Borgia at DI4MDs.com. He was able to get me the amount of coverage I needed when many, many other people couldn’t. For some reason many disability insurers don’t want to cover active duty. Below is a post from Andy about supplemental disability insurance.)
May is disability insurance awareness month and also the time of the year a number of physicians transition into new positions due to the completion of most training programs July 1st. As a result, it is an excellent time to examine protecting the most valuable asset any physician has, their ability to practice and earn an income. Whether you are a military physician with a number of years left to serve, soon to be exiting the military or currently in a residency/fellowship program, it would be prudent make certain you are adequately protected in the event you become disabled and unable to practice due to a sickness or accident. Statistics, which can be found all over the internet, including our site, indicate approximately 1 in 3 people will be disabled during their working career, which can be the cause of financial ruin. Disability insurance for physicians is universally recommended.
Being active duty military, you may think you are already adequately protected. This is far from accurate since military disability benefits only cover base pay and do not include incentive, special or bonus pay, allowances or private earned income. These extra forms of income usually provide the majority of a military physician’s pay and should and can be protected. If you are about to leave the military, the day after you are discharged, any military disability coverage will cease and you will be completely unprotected. Establishing an individual disability insurance policy can take up to 4 months, since medical records must be obtained so to be adequately protected requires advanced planning.
To make certain you and your family are protected, establish an individual disability insurance
policy. The individual policy contractual provisions should protect you in your chosen medical specialty for the entire benefit period, provide both total and partial disability benefits, allow for an increase in coverage upon completion of duty without additional medical requirements, and be noncancelable and guaranteed renewable (policy cannot be cancelled, premiums changed, coverage altered by the insurance company). Residents and fellows may be eligible for discounted polices if established prior to completion of training and should be taken advantage of.
Contact an experienced insurance agent that represents a number of companies and is familiar with contractual provisions and underwriting procedures, it does make a difference, to explore your
options. Please visit our website www.DI4MDS.com to obtain our Military Physician Disability Insurance Guide. This will provide an educational first step.
For a complementary personal disability insurance consultation please contact me directly (Andy G Borgia CLU, firstname.lastname@example.org, 888-934-4637).