Disability insurance is not a pleasant product for doctors to think about, much less buy. We know many doctors and medical professionals who cringe at the idea. Some of them consider a house or a new car much more important.
Disability: Hard Questions and Risky Answers
However, at Gavrilov & Co, our tax and wealth strategists know Disability Insurance is a critical step in planning your wealth and future.
After all, what if you, as a doctor, dentist, chiropractor, nurse anesthetist or physician’s assistant could no longer do the job you love so much? For example, what if a disease or a car-wreck left you unable to practice? We are in days of COVID-19 in a quivering economic recovery. Ask yourself. What if would I do, if I were suddenly stricken with the very virus I’m treating? What would your family do?
Disability Insurance and COVID-19
Certainly, practicing medicine in the time of this nerve-wracking pandemic is challenging. We are sure the coronavirus has put all of the medical profession under greater stress than ever.
In previous blogs, we have typically asked medical professionals to restrain their buying impulses. Usually, we want doctors to take time to learn lifestyle techniques for saving money. That’s because we want you to watch out for the 10 percent lifestyle creep. Remember, we warned you about that in our previous blog.
Isolating Necessity from Luxury in Your Budget
However, to us, Disability Insurance is not a luxury. Like we noted above, it should be a basic part of any physician’s financial planning. This is especially true during the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, we know your mind is in the midst of daily medical challenges. Additionally, you are under pandemic pressures. Yet, we still advise many physicians to take the time and effor to financially budget this one important purchase.
Therefore, let’s take a few moments to focus on long-term disability insurance within the framework of COVID-19. In plain talk, due to your career-choice, let’s explore your high-risk vulnerability. Consider your risk, not only to sickness, like COVID, but to financial difficulty and financial disaster.
There are five factors that make this time of the coronavirus the right time to purchase disability insurance:
Factor 1–Disability and Protecting Your Income
We are sure you already know that the reason you need long-term disability insurance.
Simply defined, it is a means to “protect your income in case you become disabled or unable to work due to a physical or mental illness.” A physician in today’s environment is not only risking contracting the virus but developing depression from working near the anxiety-inducing disease. Basically, if you cannot work at your normal level, “disability insurance will kick-in and help supplement your income until you recover and get back on your feet.”
2. Physicians: Risk Protection in the Age of COVID-19
We know healthcare workers who are taking care of patients. Some of the patients might have the virus. As healthcare professionals, you run a double risk.
- Risk is elevated by the fact you do not know which asymtomatic patients and staff members in the clinical environment have been exposed.
- Likewise, we are aware that there is still an ongoing “nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment…” in places where the virus is prevalant. So, doctors may “be even more vulnerable to contracting the virus.” Some physicians don’t even realize they could be an “asymptomatic carrier of the virus.”
Doctors working in ICU or ER have an even larger risk of COVID-19. And many of them are rushing in great numbers to protect themselves and their families with brand new disability insurance. We think that’s smart because they are making sure their income is protected.
Doctors Under Stress: At Risk for Mental Problems
Additionally, physicians are now becoming aware mental disorder that could just as easily fracture their income.
Other doctors who work in non-coronavirus areas of the hospital are less quick to purchase Disability Insurance. It takes a little time, a little thought, to shop for this significant insurance product. We know you’re busy. But please, make time for this matter. You probably never thought being a doctor was such a risky business.
3. Disability Insurance and Medical Exams
Doctors might not realize that despite the coronavirus, many companies have chosen not to freeze the application process for Disability Insurance.
- To begin, your wealth strategist and an insurance agent will assist you in determining just how much disability insurance you need.
- Next, according to Dr. Taylor, you will figure out if you need any added protections (called “riders.)”
- You might have to make extra payments “to cover student loans, partial disability coverage, and a cost-of-living adjuster, etc.”
4. Right Now, Approval of Applications Is Easier
We don’t know how long it will continue. However, right now, the approval of an application is currently pretty easy.
Of course, you will want to know the features and payout of the Disability Insurance policy.
Here’s good news: Insurance companies previously required an extensive medical exam. (Of course, that’s how they estimated your risk.) In fact, this was especially true if your payout was more than $6,000.00 per month.
In the present, believe it or not, approval is much easier. (Keep in mind, we don’t know how long this trend will last.) “Most people can skip the detailed medical exam and get approved by filling out an online or telephone medical questionnaire.” And such policies payout as much as $120,000 a year.
5. Pricing of Disability Insurance: Doctors Still Get Discounts
We totally acknowledge that the cost of disability insurance is extremely different in different states. Obviously some companies are catching on to the risks physicians are currently running in the age of COVID-19.
However, according to the popular KevinMD blog, Altelisa Taylor, MD, and the financial guru said in general, “Despite the risk of coronavirus infection, the price of disability insurance hasn’t increased. In fact, many insurance companies are still offering a 10 to 20 percent discount to newer doctors who are still in residency training programs or fellowships.”
We want to add that in certain states and using specific carriers, female attending physicians and some residents are still getting unisex policies.
The “gender-neutral” policies can actually save doctors up to 40-50 percent. Dr. Taylor added, “Although these unique features may only be available in certain areas from a select group of carriers, they can save so much money that they are worth seeking out.” Gavrilov & Co agree.
Old Saying: He Who Hesitates Is Lost
There is an old saying, “He who hesitates is lost.” To put it briefly, we realize more than ever that we do not know how long our personal health continues within our lifetime. Circumstances in the public health arena can change within a few days—or a few hours. Doctors, why would you gamble on your ability to avoid a long-term illness or accident?
We hope this blog brought you some much-needed information about Disability Insurance. Talk to us about planning your wealth for now and in the future. Learn a little more about disability insurance at this trusted online resource.
Look for more blogs with wealth and tax planning for physicians and medical professionals on upcoming Thursdays. Meanwhile, visit us on Mondays for general news and information from the world of accounting, tax, and wealth planning. As always, we thank you for visiting our blog. Be safe.