‘Tis the season for doctors to be inquiring about personal long term disability insurance. It is during this time of year when many doctors are wrapping up the final months of their training and preparing for the transition over into their first position. This is such a popular period that we are going to share the top 5 things to know before enrolling in a long term disability insurance plan.
1) Find an advisor who can coach you how to evaluate options. This should be an advisor who does not work for an insurance company and does not get the majority of their compensation from any particular insurance company. You can find this out by simply asking what percentage of their income comes from the company they are recommending.
2) Review long term disability insurance quotes from all of the own occupation policies that exist. As of the recording of this podcast, that would be Ameritas, Guardian, MassMutual, MetLife, Principal, and Standard. You may be wondering why Northwestern Mutual was not listed and that’s because their policy specifically requires that a doctor has to NOT be working in order to collect full disability benefits while the other six I’ve mentioned all do have the true own occupation definition of disability.
3) Make sure the quotes you are reviewing are an apples to apples comparison. Each policy is built with its core benefits and it can have additional features called riders. One of the ways we find that doctors are misled is that policy designs are not compared on an even playing field.
4) Before signing up, investigate the nuances of the contracts to find any limitations that are not highlighted. For example, some plans have hoops you have to jump through in order to maintain the policy and if you don’t keep up with them, the policy can change for the worse.
5) Take advantage of the privilege of your status because while you are in training you have two unique advantages. 1) You can get discounted rates that are guaranteed for the life of the policy and 2) you can use the starting practice limits to access a higher level of protection in some cases than what you would otherwise be able to get after joining your first practice. The reason why this occurs is because the employer’s group long term disability insurance package prevents you from getting a higher level of protection, but if you use the starting practice limits you can ignore this offset
In addition to those five guidelines, it’s most important to get the process started before you see anyone for your health. The key is to get It while you are the youngest and healthiest you can be in order to lock in the lowest rates and get the most comprehensive coverage. In our experience almost half of doctors do not get the best offering because of a health issue popped up. In light of this don’t delay and get a policy with no restrictions.