Physician’s Guide to Choosing a Disability Insurance PolicyJanuary 2, 2012 | Filing Disability Claims, Resources
For doctors, disability insurance can be an essential step for protecting income in case they no longer practice. However, the insurance industry has made policies so confusing that it can be difficult to choose the right disability policy with the best chance of obtaining benefits. To that end, disability insurance attorney Ed Comitz offers these tips on choosing the best policy:
1. Purchase a policy right after medical school. If you buy the policy when you are just starting out, you are likely to get a more competitive rate.
2. Make sure to get “own-occupation” rather than “any occupation” coverage. To understand the differences, see our explanation of policy types. If you have a specialty, it is also a good idea to get an occupational specialty rider, which will clearly define your “own occupation” as that of a specialist in your field instead of a general physician.
3. Get the highest benefit amount you can afford. If you are unable to practice, the monthly disability insurance payments you receive might be your only source of financial support.
4. Double check the policy for exclusions. These indicate that the policy won’t cover certain types of disabilities, such as mental health or subjectively reported illnesses. The best policies will not have these exclusions.
5. Get a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) clause or rider. A COLA provision will increase your potential benefits to adjust for inflation as time passes.
6. You may also want a short elimination period. The elimination period outlines the number of days you have to be disabled before you can receive benefits.
Edward O. Comitz, Esq. heads the Health and Disability Insurance Practice Section at Comitz | Beethe, 6720 N. Scottsdale Rd., Suite 150, Scottsdale, Arizona 85253, (480) 998-7800. Mr. Comitz has extensive experience in disability insurance coverage and bad faith litigation, primarily representing medical and dental professionals in reversing denials of their disability claims. For more information about disability insurance issues, please visit our disability insurance attorney website at http://www.disabilitycounsel.net.