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AMA Physician Disability Insurance Review (Updated 2022)

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AMA does not stack up well against the others

What Is American Medical Association?

Founded in 1847, the American Medical Association (AMA) is a national association that brings together 190+ specialty medical societies. The organization’s mission is to promote the art and science of medicine to improve public health. They deliver this mission by representing physicians in court, government and driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in healthcare.

The AMA offers physicians and dentists disability insurance through their product called DisabilityPro. DisabilityPro is underwritten by The United States Life Insurance Company, based in New York City. The AMA’s disability insurance plan is an association policy which means it has significant differences from other physician disability insurance plans we’ve reviewed here at LeverageRx.

American Medical Association Disability Highlights

As mentioned, the AMA’s policy for doctors is called DisabilityPro. Let’s dive into the important features and riders you should be aware of.

Own-Occupation

Every disability insurance company on LeverageRx (Ameritas, Standard, Principal, MassMutual, Guardian, Ohio National) offers a own-occupation policy, which means they will pay the physician or dentist full benefits even if the physician or dentist could work in another field after sustaining the illness or injury. Unfortunately under the AMA disability insurance policy, total disability is defined to mean you are unable to perform the substantial and material duties of your current occupation, and you are not engaged in any other occupation. If you become disabled and can’t perform the duties of your specialty, but can work in another occupation, you will not receive full benefits at AMA like you would with any of the other companies mentioned above.

Non-Cancellable & Guaranteed Renewable

Non-cancellable and guaranteed renewable insurance policies cannot be modified, changed, or canceled by the insurance company. If a policy is not non-cancellable and guaranteed renewable, the company has the ability to modify features and increase premiums. The AMA disability insurance plan is not non-cancellable, meaning that the policy can be changed, premiums can be increased at any time, and the company can even cancel the policy at their discretion on any policy anniversary. This is in stark contrast to every other physician disability insurance company at LeverageRx. The “big six” disability insurance plans are non-cancellable and cannot be modified or cancelled at all as long as you pay the premium.

Benefit Period

A benefit period is an option you have to determine up until what age you want to receive benefits. If you become injured at age 57, for example, do you want benefits until you are 65? or 70? The longer you want benefits, the more expensive your premium. AMA allows you to receive benefits up to age 67.

Elimination Period

The elimination period in disability insurance is the length of time between the beginning of an injury or illness and the time the insurance company makes benefit payments to the policy owner. The AMA DisabilityPro policy allows you to choose an elimination period between 60 and 365 days. Other insurance providers offer elimination periods as short as 30 days, and as long as 720 days.

Mental Disorders

Disabilities arising from mental, nervous, and substance abuse issues account for a significant amount of disabilities. Some policies will limit the benefits paid for these types of disabilities to a certain amount of time, and will not pay benefits for the life of the policy. The AMA disability insurance plan limits the benefits paid for mental/nervous and substance abuse disabilities to 24 months, meaning that if you suffer a disability-related to a mental or nervous condition, the company will only pay you monthly benefits for 24 months regardless of how long your disability actually lasts.

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AMA Physician Disability Insurance Riders

When you buy a physician disability insurance, whether from AMA or somewhere else, you have the option to add riders. A rider is an optional provision within the insurance contract that provides extra benefits or flexibility depending on your situation.

Cost-of-living Adjustment (COLA) Rider

A COLA rider is a built-in way to ensure that your benefits keep up with inflation. The annual increases are typically a fixed percentage or are tied to an inflation index. However, AMA does not provide a cost of living adjustment rider. This means that if you are paid benefits, they will not keep pace with inflation and will erode the value of any benefits paid over time. All the other individual plans allow you to obtain a cost of living adjustment rider with your individual disability insurance policy. These are typically a 3% or 6% annual increase in benefits paid which are capped and sometimes tied to an inflation index.

Residual Disability Rider

Residual or partial benefits allow the insured to collect benefits if they suffer a disability that results in a loss of income but is not considered totally disabled. Residual benefits typically require at least a 15-20% loss of income in order for the insured to receive benefits. As most disabilities start as partial disabilities, this is a critical feature of any disability insurance plan. Unfortunately, AMA requires the policyholder to be totally disabled and show a loss of income of at least 20% before benefits are paid. Unsurprisingly, all of the “big six” policies that cater to physicians do include a residual disability rider so you can receive payment even if you are only partially disabled.

Future Increase Rider

Future increase options allow you to increase your coverage in the future as your income grows. This is important for residents and fellows that will experience significant income increases over time. AMA allows you to buy a future purchase option but coverage can be increased once within the first 3 years of the policy or before your 40th birthday, whichever comes first. This is a major limitation for physicians in residency or early in practice that may experience significant increases in their income later in their career. All the other individual plans (Ameritas, Standard, Principle, Guardian, Ohio National, MassMutual) give you the option to increase your coverage each year up to age 55.

Alternatives to the American Medical Association

In case you haven’t noticed, there is a lot left to be desired in the AMA’s disability insurance product designed for doctors. We recommend you check out the alternatives, a couple examples are below.

Guardian

Guardian has the best definition of total disability. To be considered totally disabled and receive full benefits, you must not be able to work the medical specialty you went to school for. However, even if you can work somewhere else, Guardian will pay you full benefits since the new job is not your specialty.

Learn More: AMA Disability Insurance Review

MassMutual

MassMutual has a great COLA rider which guarantees an increase to the benefit every year. By the 6th year, the MassMutual COLA rider increases the payout by 16%! That said, their own-occupation is weak. If you can work at all, then MassMutual pay not pay you full benefits.

Learn More: MassMutual Disability Insurance Review

The Standard

The Standard’s disability insurance product for physicians and dentists is called Platinum Advantage. It offers a maximum benefit period is to age 67, and they have a generous definition of total disability. Overall, this is a middle-of-the-road option.

Learn More: The Standard Disability Insurance Review

Not sure which riders you need? Click here to talk to a specialist TODAY about your options.

Which insurance companies offer disability insurance?

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7 companies match your search
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BBB Rating
A.M. Best Rating
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Company
Loan Amounts for Residents & Fellows
Loan Amounts for Practicing Physicians
Minimum Credit Score
States Available In
AMA
Loan Amounts for Residents & Fellows N/A
Loan Amounts for Practicing Physicians N/A
Minimum Credit Score N/A
States Available In Available in 55 states. (View States)
States Available
  • Alabama
  • Alaska
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  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Canal Zone
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Ameritas_Logo_mqinpj Ameritas
Loan Amounts for Residents & Fellows N/A
Loan Amounts for Practicing Physicians N/A
Minimum Credit Score N/A
States Available In Available in 51 states. (View States)

Ameritas Life is as reputable as any name in the insurance industry. However, it’s actually a newcomer to the disability insurance space in comparison to its competitors. DInamic Foundation is its best disability insurance product for doctors. Policies are underwritten and issued by Union Central Life, its wholly-owned subsidiary.

Ameritas features a true own-occupation definition of disability. This provision benefits you if an accident or illness prevents you from practicing your specialty.

DInamic Foundation requires you to choose between non-cancelable coverage and guaranteed renewal. The maximum benefit period available is to age 70. Ameritas offers basic and enhanced residual disability riders. It also offers two different COLA riders.

    Pros
  • True own-occupation provision.
  • Lowest premium amount.
  • Two COLA rider and residual disability options.
  • Various add-ons such a good health benefit, presumptive total disability benefit, COBRA premium benefit, partial disability benefit, and non-disabling injury benefit.
    Cons
  • Slower customer service.
  • Lowest maximum policy benefit: $20,000 per month.
  • Must choose between non-cancelable coverage and guaranteed renewal.
  • For certain occupation classes, the own-occupation provision is only available for five years.
States Available
  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
Guardian
Loan Amounts for Residents & Fellows N/A
Loan Amounts for Practicing Physicians N/A
Minimum Credit Score N/A
States Available In Available in 50 states. (View States)

As one of the largest, most trusted mutual insurance companies in America, Guardian Life is the Cadillac of its industry. Its disability insurance product, ProVider Choice, is a great fit for doctors. Policies are underwritten and issued by Berkshire Life, a wholly-owned stock subsidiary.

According to Guardian, total disability occurs when injury or illness prevents you from performing your occupation. For doctors, more than half of your income must come from hands-on patient care or surgical procedures to qualify.

Guardian’s true own-occupation definition of disability guarantees full benefits. It still applies if you’re able to maintain gainful employment in another occupation. In fact, you may be able to benefit if you can still practice your specialty with major limitations.

Coverage is non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable to age 70. You may elect 10-year, five-year and two-year benefit periods. Guardian offers 30-day, 60-day, 90-day, 180-day, 360-day and 720-day elimination periods.

Unlike other providers, Guardian features three cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) rider options. As for residual disability, Guardian offers both basic and enhanced partial riders.

    Pros
  • True own-occupation provision.
  • Highest COMDEX score: 99.
  • Highest maximum policy benefit: $20,000 per month.
  • Simplified underwriting for up to $7,500.
  • Various options for benefit and elimination periods.
  • Various options for COLA and residual disability riders.
  • Various add-ons such as an automatic benefit enhancement, benefit purchase option, catastrophic disability rider, hospice care benefit, serious illness supplemental benefit and student loan protection.
    Cons
  • Highest premium amount.
  • No presumptive total disability benefit.
States Available
  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
massmutual-physician-disability-insurance_zalsic MassMutual
Loan Amounts for Residents & Fellows N/A
Loan Amounts for Practicing Physicians N/A
Minimum Credit Score N/A
States Available In Available in 50 states. (View States)

MassMutual has been a mainstay in the insurance game since 1851. MassMutual offers two disability insurance products, Radius and Radius Choice. Both feature provisions and add-ons that allow you to customize your coverage to meet specific needs. MassMutual helps you protect your income and retirement without relinquishing payment control.

MassMutual features a true own-occupation definition of disability. However, the provision is not part of your base policy. You must purchase it as an additional rider. With this provision in place, ‘total disability’ occurs when you cannot perform the main duties of your occupation. This requires you to be under a physician’s care.

Both Radius and Radius Choice are non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable to age 65. Radius is conditionally renewable for life, while Radius Choice is only until age 74. Both policies have benefit periods available to ages 65 and 67, as well as two years, five years and 10 years. Radius Choice also offers a maximum benefit period to age 70. Both policies offer elimination periods of 60 days, 90 days, 180 days, one year and two years.

MassMutual offers one cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) rider. After your first year of disability, your monthly benefit increases by a set percentage each year. MassMutual offers one option with basic criteria that increases your chance of qualifying.

    Pros
  • True own-occupation provision.
  • Various add-ons such as an automatic benefit enhancement, catastrophic disability rider, future increase option, presumptive total disability benefit and student loan protection.
    Cons
  • Own-occupation provision sold separately.
  • Only one COLA rider and residual disability rider option.
  • No benefit purchase option, hospice care benefit or serious illness supplemental benefit.
States Available
  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
Ohio_National_Disability_vvtk3o-thumb Ohio National
Loan Amounts for Residents & Fellows N/A
Loan Amounts for Practicing Physicians N/A
Minimum Credit Score N/A
States Available In Available in 38 states. (View States)

Ohio National’s disability insurance product is relatively new to the market. Still, it’s among the best money can buy. ContinuON Income Solutions II allows you to customize your coverage without losing control of premium expenses.

Ohio National offers its true own-occupation provision as a rider. Regardless of occupation class, it does not come with your base policy. With Ohio National, total disability occurs when you’re unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your specialty. To qualify, you must be under the care of a physician.

ContinuON Income Solutions II is guaranteed renewable on an annual basis. Coverage is non-cancelable as long as you consistently pay on time. Benefits periods include age 65, 67 and 70. Two-year, five-year and 10-year benefit periods are also available. Ohio National offers 60-day, 90-day, 180-day and one-year elimination periods.

Ohio National offers both a 3% and a 6% COLA rider. Policyholders may elect the basic or enhanced residual disability rider.

    Pros
  • True own-occupation provision.
  • Excellent customer service.
  • Various add-ons such as a hospice benefit, survivor benefit and recurrent disability benefit.
    Cons
  • Lowest physical and labs limit means simplified underwriting is only allowed for up to $3,000 per month.
States Available
  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
Principal Logo Principal
Loan Amounts for Residents & Fellows N/A
Loan Amounts for Practicing Physicians N/A
Minimum Credit Score N/A
States Available In Available in 50 states. (View States)

Principal Life is among the most competitive providers in the disability insurance market. HH750 is an excellent option for doctors seeking a top-shelf disability insurance product. It features a wide variety of options that afford you maximum flexibility.

Principal Life is among the most competitive providers in the disability insurance market. HH750 is an excellent option for doctors seeking a top-shelf disability insurance product. It features a wide variety of options that afford you maximum flexibility.

Principal offers both a true own-occupation and a modified own-occupation provision. A true own-occupation provision is the best bet for highly-skilled individuals like doctors. You benefit if you become unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your specialty. It still applies if you can maintain gainful employment in a different occupation.

Modified own-occupation is a watered-down version of the former. Frankly, it’s only feasible if you’re cost is a concern. The definition of disability is the same, but you will not benefit if you can fulfill another occupation. Either way, both provisions are available as part of your base policy. You do not have to purchase an additional rider.

HH750 is non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable to age 65. Benefit periods are available to ages 65, 67 and 70, and for two years and five years. Principal features 30-day, 60-day, 90-day, 180-day and one year elimination periods.

Principal offers one cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) rider. After selecting a maximum benefit between 3-6%, it increases on a compound basis. Principal also offers one partial residual disability rider.

Modified own-occupation is a watered-down version of the former. Frankly, it’s only feasible if you’re cost is a concern. The definition of disability is the same, but you will not benefit if you can fulfill another occupation. Either way, both provisions are available as part of your base policy. You do not have to purchase an additional rider.

HH750 is non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable to age 65. Benefit periods are available to ages 65, 67 and 70, and for two years and five years. Principal features 30-day, 60-day, 90-day, 180-day and one year elimination periods.

Principal offers one cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) rider. After selecting a maximum benefit between 3-6%, it increases on a compound basis. Principal also offers one partial residual disability rider.

    Pros
  • True and modified own-occupation provisions.
  • Advisor’s Choice Award for advisor support.
  • Available to those who only work 20 hours a week.
  • Simplified underwriting for up to $6,000 per month.
  • Various add-ons such as a benefit update rider, catastrophic disability rider, future benefit increase rider, presumptive total disability benefit, and serious illness benefit.
    Cons
  • The modified own-occupation provision can be misleading. It can save you money now, but you will not receive as strong of benefits as true own-occupation.
States Available
  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
The Standard Logo The Standard
Loan Amounts for Residents & Fellows N/A
Loan Amounts for Practicing Physicians N/A
Minimum Credit Score N/A
States Available In Available in 50 states. (View States)

The Standard is among the largest, most trusted providers in the disability insurance space. The company has several options, but Platinum Advantage is the most beneficial for doctors. It features built-in provisions and additional riders that maximize income protection.

The Standard’s true own-occupation definition of disability is available as an additional rider. With this provision in place, ‘total disability’ occurs when you are unable to perform the substantial and material duties of your specialty. You must also be under the care of a physician to qualify.

Platinum Advantage is guaranteed renewable to age 67. To make your policy non-cancelable, you must purchase an additional rider. Benefit periods are available to ages 65 and 67, as well as two years, five years and 10 years. Elimination periods of 60 days, 90 days, 180 days and one year are available.

The Standard offers one cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) rider. After selecting a maximum benefit between 3-6%, it increases annually on a compound basis according to the Consumer Price Index. The Standard offers a basic residual disability rider.

    Pros
  • True own-occupation provision.
  • Wide variety of options and strong coverage guarantee.
  • No-cost riders and benefits, such as the family care benefit.
  • Various add-ons such as an automatic increase benefit rider, benefit increase rider, catastrophic disability rider, family care benefit, premium waiver benefit, presumptive total disability benefit, student loan rider and survivor benefit.
    Cons
  • Own-occupation and non-cancelable riders sold separately.
  • Only one COLA rider and residual disability rider option.
  • Lowest COMDEX score: 79.
States Available
  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
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