The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Maintaining a suitable form of disability insurance is critical for any physician, especially for women. There are many gender-specific exclusions that female physicians face when it comes to properly protecting their income. We have put together a list of some of the most important factors female physicians should evaluate when considering a disability insurance policy.
The Importance of Long-Term Disability Insurance
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As a female physician, it is hard to break through the glass ceiling, but with hard work and perseverance, anything is possible. Once a female physician has become established, it is critical that she protect both her lifestyle and her income. In the event of a sudden disability, long-term disability insurance will provide coverage for several years, in some cases until retirement, for at least 60% of your income. For female physicians, this can mean the difference between bankruptcy and finding a happy middle ground during the disability period.
Evaluate Pregnancy Exclusions or Inclusions
Most disability insurance policies are created for male physicians. That being said, there are many that offer a range of options that are female-specific. One of the main clauses to evaluate is whether pregnancy is included or excluded in any disability policy considered. Choosing a policy that specifically covers pregnancy well before actually becoming pregnant is the best way to avoid it being labeled as a pre-existing condition.
There are some basic words used in every policy, regardless of the insurer, however, they may not be defined the same everywhere. It is important to evaluate the definitions of the terms listed in any policy being considered. Specifically. The benefit period, waiting period, and definition of disability should all be clearly defined. Policies that lack clear definitions tend to have a higher incidence of claim denial than those with clear definitions of these terms.
The Benefit Amounts
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One of the most important things to evaluate when buying physician disability insurance is the amount of the benefit payments. In most cases, the maximum payout will be capped at 80% of a physician’s salary. However, there are many policies that cap payments at 60%. Keep in mind that LTD benefits are not taxed, so the amount you see is the amount you actually get. Depending on the age of the physician, some insurance companies may offer an even higher rate. You can also consider adding a rider to increase the coverage amount of a basic policy.
Evaluate Available Riders
While we are on the topic of riders, there are several factors in this category to evaluate. Not every company will offer all riders, but you should determine which ones you want and find an insurance company that offers them. For younger physicians, a student loan protection rider is essential. However, an enhanced partial disability benefit rider can be helpful to physicians at every level. For physicians in the middle of their career or eyeing retirement, a retirement protection rider can mean the difference between a secure future and having to drastically reduce one’s lifestyle in the event of a late-stage disability.
Safeguard Your Career With LTD Insurance
Working hard and finally entering the medical field is a dream come true for women all over the world. Being sidelined by a disability can become a crushing nightmare if precautions are not put in place. With long-term disability, female physicians can protect their income and their career while they recover.