Disability insurance is critical and necessary for any professional. This is even more important for General Dentists. Statistics indicate that General Dentists are almost 20% more likely to experience a disability compared to dental specialists and 30% more likely than some physicians. As a result, one of the major disability insurance companies recently increased their rates for General Dentists due to past and expected future poor morbidity. Others are certain to follow. Dentistry requires finely tuned motor skills and being able to maintain the same position for long periods of time. This often leads to musculoskeletal disorders, which are the leading cause of disability. The time to protect your income with disability insurance is when you are young and healthy. Being in the military limits some options but there is a solution.
Active-duty military dentists are provided limited coverage from the VA disability program. The program doesn’t cover all components of pay, which means that a disability would significantly impair long term financial goals. The maximum VA disability payout is typically about half of base pay, and that’s assuming you are rated 100% disabled. Your retention pay, incentive pay, and any moonlighting pay are not protected.
MassMutual is the only insurance company that provides active duty dentists and dental specialists non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable specialty-specific / own occupation coverage. A premium discount is also available. If you are an inactive reserve at least 90 days out from going active, you can apply to a select few other insurance carriers, but there are limitations with those carriers; for example, requiring that the policy and coverage be suspended while you are on active duty.
It is important to note that dental specialties like Orthodontist, Periodontist, etc. as well as AEGD trained dentists pay a lower rate than General Dentists. If you plan on becoming a dental specialist, it might be more cost-effective to wait until you are in advanced training to apply for coverage. This may however be offset by having to pay a higher premium due to age as well as the possibility of a health change. An experienced agent will be able to run the numbers and determine whether it makes economic sense to wait or not. Generally, the sooner you establish coverage the better.
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 military dental 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 to guarantee the protection you need later. Don’t think that you must maximize your coverage right away. Obtaining what you can afford now will allow you to purchase what you need later. There are options you can add to your policy to guarantee you can increase your monthly benefit in the future regardless of health.
There is no better time than now to establish the type of policy you need to protect your dental career in the event of disability. Our contact info is:
Andy G. Borgia CLU
The only insurance company, Massachusetts Mutual, that will provide active duty military physicians and dentists individual specialty specific, non-cancellable, guaranteed renewable disability insurance coverage has announced some policy and underwriting enhancements to take effect at the end of April. Military physicians/dentists will be able to protect a larger amount of future income utilizing the Future Insurability Option (FIO) Rider. This Rider guarantees the ability to increase coverage in the future based on income regardless of health. This protects against adverse health changes being excluded from coverage. For policies with the Benefit increase Rider (BIR), instead of being limited to increasing coverage only every three years, “off anniversary” increases are allowed under certain circumstances. For example, when military service completes, or income increases significantly (30% or more).
The 24 month mental/nervous disorder maximum benefit period can be extended to age 65 or 67 for an additional 15% premium for all specialties except Anesthesiology, Pain Management and Emergency Medicine. These enhancements are available to new policies only. This is consistent with the discount for military physicians and dentists that Massachusetts Mutual announced last year and will remain in effect.
Disability insurance continues to be a foundational solution to protect military physicians, dentists, and their families by providing financial security not available elsewhere. One key factor to remember, the coverage CANNOT BE ESTABLISHED WHILE ON OVERSEAS DEPLOYMENT OR AFTER RECEIVING ORDERS TO DEPLOY OVERSEAS. For that reason, it is critical to contact us before you expect to receive orders.
*not available in California, District of Columbia, New York
Andy G Borgia CLU
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:
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 (email@example.com)
D.K. Unger (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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, email@example.com, 888-934-4637).