Disability Insurance should be purchased as a Resident or Fellow

You wake up, still tired from yesterday, and get ready for your shift.  It’s the last year of your residency and you are really looking forward to a fellowship. Depending on the opportunity, you could be anywhere in the country.  Wherever you continue your training, you do it because you are passionate about helping people and furthering your medical education.  Ultimately your dedication, investment in education and drive will lead to a fulfilling practice as a physician and will help you achieve the things in life that are most important to you.  It is critically important to protect your future income with a quality disability insurance for physicians policy.

Having a great career as a physician……That’s the dream!

You hope for the best, but there are bumps in the road to professional achievement and financial security.  Every year, more than 20 million Americans become disabled due to a sickness or injury(1).   Few people realize that roughly 30% of all Americans will become disabled for at least 90 days or longer prior to age 65 (2) with the average disability lasting between 2 and 3 years3.  The reality is you are at risk of suffering an injury or illness that could limit or totally prevent you from practicing medicine.  Having made a significant investment in your education, it really doesn’t make sense to leave your income unprotected.

As a medical resident, you are likely young and healthy.  It is important to know that 92.2%(4) of disabilities are a result of an illness.  Illnesses tend to be degenerative, with some taking years to actually “disable” an individual.  During these years, income still increase with the illness still allowing the individual to work full time.  At some point, this condition could cause the insured to have a loss of income.  This is one reason why it is important to obtain coverage as soon as possible, prior to an illness developing.  Exclusions typically exclude from coverage medical conditions and impairments from prior illnesses or injuries.  They could possibly be from that ski trip to Colorado or that lingering sports injury from high school.

Whatever the cause, if you were to suffer a disability due to a pre-existing condition, the exclusion may prevent you from receiving benefits under the policy.

The key is to lock in as much disability protection as possible today and control your future options.   A prudent strategy is to obtain coverage that can grow with your practice and protect your ability to acquire future disability coverage.  By adding a future increase option rider or “FIO”* to your base policy, you have the opportunity to increase your coverage without regard to any health changes.  The cost to obtain this future increase option privilege is affordable and increases are tied to your income.

Fortunately for residents and fellows, many insurers want you as clients and offer a number of special programs to those in residency and fellowship.  Most of these programs are only available while you are in training.  A good financial representative can help you design an affordable policy today — that could provide as much as $25,000 of monthly benefit.