Should You Hire a Disability Insurance Attorney?

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5 mins

IN THIS ARTICLE
IN THIS ARTICLE

What is a Disability Insurance Attorney?

As you know by now, all medical professionals should purchase physician disability insurance. After all, no one plans on being unable to work, but it’s comforting to know you can insure up to 60% of your income if you get into an accident or fall ill. After filing a claim, you should receive the disability benefits you need to maintain your lifestyle. But if your claim is denied, suddenly a bad situation has become even worse. For that reason, hiring a disability insurance attorney is a smart move. It will save you from a tiring and lengthy process that could actually deepen your financial woes.

How to File the Initial Disability Claim

When filing for long-term disability insurance benefits, the initial application you submit is crucial. A disability insurance attorney can help you navigate the complex nature of the claims application and coordinate its filing. This will typically require input from your physician(s), accountant, and co-workers. Upon becoming disabled, your lawyer will let you know when to notify your insurance company. The disability company will then send you the claim form, which looks much different than the forms that were used to buy your physician disability coverage. This makes it far too easy to misinterpret questions or overlook information, which may ultimately prevent you from receiving your proper benefits. According to Gregory Dell, the managing attorney at Attorneys Dell & Schaefer:

Selecting the correct date of disability is often a key factor that can be the difference in getting a claim approved.

He further stated that when his firm handles a disability claim from the inception:

All communications are sent to the lawyer’s office and the disability company can never speak to the claimant without the lawyer.

Disability insurance companies claim to approve more than 85% of claims. But they will still seize upon an opportunity to deny a claim. Needless to say, claimants who hire disability insurance attorneys record higher success rates than those who fly solo.

When Long Term Disability Benefits are Denied

If you file a claim by yourself and it is denied, a disability insurance attorney may be able to pursue options that don’t require an immediate lawsuit to be filed. Depending upon which disability company you purchased the disability policy from, you may be able to either submit additional information or submit an appeal. In many claim denials, a disability company will send you a copy of the records they relied upon to make this decision. A skilled disability insurance attorney can review your complete file and determine if it’s in your best interest to:

  • Appeal
  • Submit more information
  • File a lawsuit

In many cases, Gregory Dell and his team of lawyers have been able to negotiate lump-sum buyouts of a long-term disability policy without the need to file a lawsuit.

Why Your Disability Benefits are Delayed

Disability insurance companies are required to evaluate a claim for long-term benefits every month. According to the disability insurance attorneys that specialize in helping medical professionals, these are the most common factors that lead to claim denial are:

  • Your doctor fails to properly submit the attending physician statement
  • The monthly claimant statement is not completed correctly
  • The insurance company didn’t receive your medical records.
  • The insurance company can’t get a hold of your doctor
  • The insurance company sent your medical records for review and they are waiting on the results
  • The insurance company keeps asking for more information and the claimant does not know how to respond
  • The insurance company is conducting a pre-existing condition evaluation in order to see if a claimant failed to disclose a prior medical condition

With everything that is at stake, it’s vital that you consider all of these possible outcomes.

Disability Insurance Attorneys for Doctors

If you are stuck with a delayed or denied claim, or you need to file a claim for the first time, LeverageRx highly recommend you seek the advice from a disability insurance attorney. Here are a few worth checking out:

Eric Buchanan & Associates

The dedicated disability insurance attorneys at Eric Buchanan and Associates have helped thousands of people fight wrongful denials by insurance companies and the Social Security Administration.

Gianelli & Morris

Gianelli & Morris is a California law firm based in Los Angeles that concentrates on insurance law. Their team represents insurance policyholders statewide who are not receiving the benefit of their policy due to misconduct or mistreatment by the insurer. The firm has been focusing on insurance law for more than 40 years, and over that time, they have helped thousands of individuals get the benefits they need and deserve at a critical time in their lives.

Frankel & Newfield, PC

Partners Jason Newfield and Justin Frankel work one-on-one with clients, supported by three experienced paralegals who were hired and trained for their superior legal skills, dedication to clients, and compassion for people. The team’s collective experiences on behalf of claimants will provide clients comfort that they have seen their situation before and will have strategies to succeed.

Marc Whitehead & Associates

Based in Houston, Texas, Marc Whitehead & Associates, Attorneys at Law serves clients nationally. Outside Houston, they have a full-service office in Dallas.

So Should You Hire a Disability Insurance Attorney?

A disability insurance policy is a very valuable asset that doctors utilize when they are limited in their ability to perform the duties of their occupation. Disability companies evaluate the terms of the disability and determine if a claimant is contractually eligible for benefits. A disability insurance attorney that deals with disability claims every day can greatly improve your chances of getting approved and staying on a claim when:

  • When you file a claim.
  • When your claim is denied.
  • When your benefits are delayed.

Remember, the disability companies have in-house lawyers to advise them with any questions. That’s why you should consider having a lawyer to protect your benefits for as long as you may think you will need them. A special thanks to Gregory Dell for taking his time to highlight how a disability insurance attorney can help a claimant secure the long term benefits he or she needs.

Who Offers Disability Insurance for Physicians?

Compare rates, features, and more from the best disability insurance policies of 2022.

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  • Company
  • A.M. Best Rating
  • Definition of Disabilityg
  • Future Increase Option
  • Residual Benefit
  • States available in
  • Ameritas Logo
  • A
  • Own-Occupation Definition
  • Available annually to age 55
  • Requires 15% loss of income
  • 50 states (View states)
  • Get Rates

States Available

AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

About

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.

Read our full review of Ameritas’s disability insurance policy.

  • Guardian Logo
  • A++
  • Own-Occupation Definition
  • Available annually up to age 55
  • Requires 15% loss of income
  • 49 states (View states)
  • Get Rates

States Available

AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

About

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.

    Read our full review on Guardian’s disability insurance policy.

  • MassMutal Logo
  • A++
  • Own-Occupation Definition
  • Available annually up to age 55
  • Requires 15% loss of income
  • 50 states (View states)
  • Get Rates

States Available

AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

About

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.

    Read our full review on MassMutual’s disability insurance policy.

  • Ohio National Financial Service Logo
  • A+
  • Own-Occupation Definition
  • Available annually to age 60
  • Requires 15% loss of income
  • 38 states (View states)
  • Get Rates

States Available

AK, AL, AR, AZ, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NE, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WA, WI, WV, WY

About

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.

Read our full review on Ohio National’s disability insurance policy.

  • Principal Logo
  • A+
  • Own-Occupation Definition
  • Future Increase Option
  • Requires 20% loss of income
  • 50 states (View states)
  • Get Rates

States Available

AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

About

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.

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.

Read our full review of Principal’s disability insurance policy.

  • The Standard Logo
  • A
  • Own-Occupation Definition
  • Available annually up to age 55
  • Requires 20% loss of income
  • 50 states (View states)
  • Get Rates

States Available

AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

About

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.

Read our full review on The Standard’s disability insurance policy.

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