/ Disability Insurance

A Review of MassMutual's Disability Insurance Policies

Radius and Radius Choice are disability insurance policies issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, which operates under the marketing name MassMutual. Below is an overview of the key provisions and options of these disability insurance policies:

Policy basics

Does it have an own-occupation provision? MassMutual offers an own-occupation definition of disability. However, unlike other insurers offering disability insurance for doctors, its own-occupation provision is not available in the base policy; it must be purchased as an additional rider to the policy.

Under the rider, total disability is defined as when the insured cannot perform the main duties of their occupation. The insured must also be under a doctor’s care for their injury or illness.

Is the policy noncancelable and guaranteed renewable? Both policies are noncancelable and guaranteed renewable to age 65. Radius is conditionally renewable for life while Radius Choice is conditionally renewable to age 74.

What is the maximum benefit period? Both policies have benefit periods available to ages 65 and 67, as well as two years, five years and 10 years. In addition, Radius Choice offers a maximum benefit period to age 70.

What elimination periods are available? Both policies offer elimination periods of 60 days, 90 days, 180 days, one year and two years.

Does the policy pay benefits for mental disorders? With MassMutual, the maximum benefit period is 24 months for each period of disability caused, or contributed to, by a mental disorder. However, the company will pay benefits, subject to the maximum benefit period, as long as you are confined in a hospital for the treatment of a mental disorder, and under a doctor’s care.

Cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) rider

MassMutual’s COLA rider increases your monthly benefit by a set percentage for each year you are disabled starting after the first 12 months of receiving benefits.

In the second year of disability, benefits will increase 3 percent. They will increase 6.1 percent in year 3, 9.3 percent in year 4, 12.6 percent in year 5, and 15.9 percent in year 6. The percentage increases each year of disability.

Residual disability rider

For the first six months, you only need to meet one of the following circumstances to be considered residually disabled:

  • Your income declines by at least 15 percent.
  • You can no longer perform at least 15 percent of the duties of your occupation.
  • You are unable to work in your occupation for 85 percent or more of the time as was usual prior to your disability.

After six months, only the 15 percent loss of earnings will be considered for residual disability.

The rider states the following benefits will be paid:

  • During the first six months, the policy will pay full disability benefits if you are working less than 20 percent of the time worked just prior to the start of the disability.
  • Otherwise, for the first 12 months, monthly payments for partial disability will be at least 50 percent of the Extended Partial Disability Monthly Benefit shown in the policy specifications.
  • If your loss of income is more than 50 percent of the Extended Partial Disability Monthly Benefit, the monthly payment will be your actual loss of income; or
  • If your loss of income is greater than 75 percent of Pre-Disability Income, the monthly payment will be the total disability monthly benefit.

Additional policy benefits

Automatic benefit enhancement. The policies provide 3 percent simple increases that are renewable every five years. Refusal of two consecutive increases will cancel the rider.

Catastrophic disability rider. This rider provides additional benefits in the event you are unable to perform at least two of the six activities for daily living, are cognitively impaired or presumptively disabled. If a COLA rider is attached to the base contract, adjustments will be made to this rider.

Future increase option. The policies provide annual increase options to age 60, up to a maximum of $10,000 or three times the base monthly benefit.

Presumptive total disability benefit. The policy may waive your elimination period if you sustain a total loss of at least one of the following: sight in both eyes,hearing in both ears, use of both hands, use of both feet, use of one hand and one foot. The disability need not be permanent to collect benefits but it must be to waive the elimination period.

Student loan protection. Radius Choice provides a monthly benefit equal to the student loan repayment up to the maximum monthly benefit while the insured is totally disabled. Coverage is available for a period of 10 or 15 years from the policy date. The option is not available on the Radius policy.