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Who Offers Disability Insurance for Physicians?

Compare rates, features, and more from the best disability insurance policies of 2022.
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6 companies match your search(Reset all filters)
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States AvailableAK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KT, 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.

States AvailableAK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KT, 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.

States AvailableAK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KT, 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.

States AvailableAK, AL, AR, AZ, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KT, 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.

States AvailableAK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KT, 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.

States AvailableAK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KT, 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.

Physician disability insurance protects your source of income in the event that you are no longer able to perform your medical specialty due to injury or illness.

It is a long-term coverage with an own-occupation provision designed specifically for medical professionals.

Physicians, dentists, podiatrists, veterinarians and the like need disability insurance because most injuries and illnesses occur away from the job, which means workers' compensation is not applicable.

Why Physicians Need Disability Insurance

The case for physician disability insurance begins with a sobering reality: Between 25-30% of American workers will suffer a disabling event at some point in their careers that prevents them from earning an income. As a highly-trained, highly-compensated medical professional, ask yourself:

  • What would you do if you couldn't work?
  • How would you pay your bills if you lost your income?
  • What would become of your medical practice if you were unable to treat patients?
  • How would the loss of income affect your lifestyle and ability to provide for your family?

Depending on how you answer these questions, you may want to purchase disability insurance to protect your income.

How much does Physician Disability Insurance Cost?

The following factors will determine how much your disability insurance costs each month:

  • Age (gets more expensive as you age)
  • Gender (women pay more)
  • Your Health
  • Medical Specialty (i.e., surgeons are at higher risk than family doctors)
  • Financial Underwriting (how much you earn)
  • Location (not all states are treated equally)
  • Benefit Length (the longer you want to receive payments, the more you pay each month)
  • Elimination Period (the longer you can wait to receive benefits, the cheaper your payments)

Below are three examples of what a physician might pay for coverage, assuming all three would pay benefits until they turned 65.

$5k Monthly Benefit

A 35-year-old male non-smoker receives a maximum monthly benefit of $5,000. The annual premium is just over $2,500, which mean he pays $208/month. It includes an own-occupation definition of disability. The policy also has a residual benefit rider and a 3 percent annual cost of living adjustment using simple interest.

$10k Monthly Benefit

A 27-year-old male non-smoker receives a maximum monthly benefit of $10,000. The annual premium is $3,350, meaning he pays $279/month. The own-occupation provision is available as a rider. This policy also included a residual disability rider and a 3-percent simple interest cost-of-living adjustment.

$17k Monthly Benefit

A 40-year-old male non-smoker receives a maximum $17,000 monthly benefit. The annual premium is about $5,800, for monthly payments of $483/month. It includes an own-occupation provision and a residual disability benefit. The policy also has a recovery benefit, automatic increases, and unlimited coverage for mental disorders or substance abuse.

Curious how much disability insurance costs for you?

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Physician Disability Coverage Options

Unfortunately just by being hurt or sick doesn’t qualify you for disability benefits. Some insurers consider you disabled if you can't perform your specific role, but others won't pay a dime if you can work anywhere in the field of medicine.

Here are three things to look for when purchasing disability insurance:

Any-Occupation

This is the strictest definition in a disability policy. An any-occupation policy comes with the lowest premiums and will provide the least amount of coverage. Any-occupation policies are designed for serious disabilities.

For example, if you become seriously injured and can no longer perform medicine, but you can work as a consultant for a hospital -- an any-occupation would not consider you disabled.

Own-occupation

The opposite of an any-occupation policy is called an own-occupation policy. This policy protects your ability to work in your given profession. You will be covered if a disability prevents or limits you from working the job you had before your event. Even if you’re able to work in another capacity (as a consultant, teacher, etc.), you are still eligible for benefits.

Transitional Own-Occupation

A transitional own-occupation limits your benefits based on the difference between your total disability benefit amount and post-disability income.

For example, let's say your benefit for disability is $10,000/ month. You suffer an injury that prevents you from doing your old job. But, you find a new job that pays $5,000 a month. Under a transitional own-occupation, your benefits will be reduced to $5,000 per month.

Now that you have a pretty good idea of what physician disability insurance is and why you need it, let's figure out if a short term or long term policy is right for you.

Short-term vs Long-term Disability Insurance

The difference between short-term and long-term disability insurance are: 1) The kinds of injuries covered; 2) The duration benefits will be received; 3) When you receive compensation.

Here is an overview of the key differences between short-term and long-term disability insurance:

Short-term disability insuranceLong-term disability insurance
What it typically coversTemporary, non-threatening injuries and illnesses that you generally recover fromSerious injuries and illnesses that limit or prevent your ability to work for several months or years, or even permanently
How long after disability do benefits typically start14 daysAs little as 30 days or as much as two years, depending on the elimination period selected by the policyholder
How long do benefits lastTypically six months, though it may be up to two years5 to 10 years; in some cases to age 65
How is insurance providedTypically six months, though it may be up to two yearsOften through a group plan but an individual policy is recommended in most cases

Short-term disability is for less serious injuries, like a surgeon who breaks his or her arm. Short-term disability is usually sold as a group plan through an employer or organization.

Long-term disability insurance, however, is designed for medical professionals who unexpectedly become disabled. It is more expensive than short-term, but offers far greater protection.

Doctors need true own-occupation disability insurance. We make it incredibly simple.

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One more thing to consider before purchasing physician disability insurance is the optional features that can be added on to your policy.

Physician Disability Insurance Riders

Insurance policy riders are optional features that can be added to enhance your coverage. Here are the different riders you may want to consider:

Residual Disability Rider

Residual disability benefits protect you against partial income loss, and is defined in one of two ways:

  • Ability to perform one or more, but not all, of your duties
  • Unable to perform your duties for a set percentage of the time

A residual disability rider will supplement your income even if you are still working and not considered totally disabled.

Future Increase Rider

Your income will increase over time so a future increase rider allows you to increase your coverage at designated future dates. And, you can do so without going through underwriting again.

A future increase rider is critical for residents and fellows because your benefits will be capped based on your income at the time of purchase. Once you're out of residency, you will need to increase your coverage.

Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

A cost-of-living adjustment rider will increase your benefit amount each year you are disabled.

Your expenses, i.e., your cost of living, increases each year with inflation. Let's say inflation averages 3% a year. A level benefit amount will have a third less purchasing power in 15 years. With a COLA rider, your benefits will keep pace with inflation.

Catastrophic Disability Rider

Most insurers offer a catastrophic disability rider. The rider can help pay for the care needed due to a catastrophic injury such as a loss of hearing, inability to eat or a severe cognitive impairment. The risk of a catastrophic disability is low which means adding the benefit is cheap.

Student Loan Rider

A few carriers offer a student loan rider that will cover some or all of your student loan payments during the period of disability. It’s an inexpensive option to add.

Physician Disability Insurance FAQs

How Long do I want to Receive Benefits?

The longer you want to receive payments, the more you will pay in premium. Choosing the optimal length is tricky. On one hand, most disabilities are temporary and you will return to work. That said, if you become permanently disabled at age 40 and you have a standard 10-year benefit period, you will stop receiving payments at age 50. The best way to determine your need is to look at your budget. Balance that with how long you plan to work in your specialty.

What Elimination Period Should I get?

The elimination period is the amount of time you have to wait to receive benefits after you file the claim. The longer the elimination period in your policy, the less you will pay in premium. For most disability insurance policies, 30-day elimination periods are more expensive than 60-day periods.

Can I get Physician Disability Insurance if I have Pre-existing Medical Conditions?

In most cases, you can qualify for disability insurance even if you have pre-existing medical conditions. That said, the policy may have exclusions and limitations based on your condition and you may have to pay a higher premium. Even if one carrier won’t cover you, others will. It’s a competitive market. Some insurers cater to individuals that other insurers have turned down.

Should I get Physician Disability Insurance in Residency?

Even though it may be more difficult to afford, there are several reasons to consider buying disability insurance as a resident:

  • It will protect your future income potential
  • You probably have student loans
  • It will never be more affordable
  • You can always buy more coverage later

Do Disability Benefits Affect my Taxes?

The effect disability insurance payments have on your taxes depends on the type of policy, how premiums are paid and who pays them.

Premiums for individual disability insurance are not tax-deductible. The policy benefits will be tax-free income if you pay the premium. This is true whether you’re buying a group plan or your own individual policy. If your employer pays the premiums without including the cost in your gross income, the policy’s benefits will be taxable income.

Should I Get Level or Graded Premium?

A level premium means you pay the same amount for the life of the policy. A graded premium starts with a lower premium payment that gradually increases over time.

A level premium is advantageous if you can afford the amount due at policy issue. It will be easier to budget for something that never rises in cost. A graded premium might be better if you’re a student, resident, or beginning your practice. This will enable you to have more affordable coverage while your income is lower.

What is the Difference between Critical Care Insurance and Disability Insurance?

Critical care insurance benefits are limited to acute illnesses, such as cancer, a heart attack, or stroke. Disability insurance covers injuries and illnesses that prevent you from working.

In addition, critical care insurance covers the expenses of an illness, such as treatment and doctor visits. Disability insurance replaces the income you lose due to a illness or injury.

Will my Life Insurance Cover a Disability?

Many physician life insurance policies offer disability riders to make them more attractive, but these riders do not provide the coverage of an individual disability insurance policy. This is especially true for physicians with high incomes to replace.

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