One common theme we’ve seen at MPPL Financial in our 20-plus years of advising doctors and dentists is having either the wrong type of long-term disability insurance or an inadequate policy in place. If you’re a doctor or dentist, it’s critical to be sure you have the right policy for your specific needs. Otherwise, you risk not receiving the replacement income you expected if you’re ever in a situation that prevents you from treating patients.
Doctors and Dentists Need “Own Occupation” Long-Term Disability Insurance with the Right Type of Coverage
As a medical or dental professional, you should ensure the long-term disability policy you purchase is an “own occupation” policy, not an “any occupation” policy. “Own occupation” means the policy is specific to the profession. “Any occupation” policies will not provide replacement income if you can’t work in your specialty but are able to work in another profession.
What’s more, benefits vary when it comes to “own occupation” long-term disability coverage. Some policies provide total disability coverage if you are unable to perform most of the duties of your regular medical or dental specialty. Other policies limit the benefits you can receive if you are unable to work in your specific job, but are able to perform other duties related to the profession.
For example, a pediatrician is faced with a disability that makes it impossible to directly treat patients for 18 months. However, the pediatrician is able to teach an online class for medical students at a prominent teaching hospital. Some policies may view this type of activity as “own occupation work” and either deny or limit benefits the pediatrician expected the policy to pay out.
Two Steps for Doctors and Dentists to Ensure the Right Type of Long-Term Disability Coverage
Step 1: Make sure you have an “own occupation” policy. Carefully review your long-term disability policy to ensure it is an “own occupation” policy that specifically covers your profession. If you do not have such a policy, consider switching.
Step 2: Know what the coverage really provides. Even if you have an “own occupation” policy, review the disability language to ensure you understand in what situations you are covered and how much coverage is provided. If the language does not provide you with the level of protection you desire, again, work with your financial advisor to help you to understand whether additional riders to the policy could help to strengthen your contract, or whether it’s time to look for a new policy. Additional riders could include opportunities to increase your benefit without completely underwriting a new policy.
During your review, it’s also important to look at the time frame the “own occupation” coverage is provided. Medical and dental professional want to be sure that the time frame of the “own occupation” coverage matches up with the full benefit period of the policy.
Pulling It All Together: Helping Doctors and Dentists Find the Right Type of Long-term Disability Insurance
Language in insurance policies is often complex, so don’t feel like you need to figure this out without assistance. Your financial advisor or insurance agent should be able to help you better understand how you are truly covered and your exposure in any situations where you are unable to work.
MPPL Financial has offices in Wausau, WI, Duluth and Grand Rapids, MN, and Crystal Lake, IL. While we’re based in the Midwest, we work with clients across the entire U.S.
Investment Advisory Services offered through Midwest Professional Planners, Ltd. (“MPPL”), 2610 Stewart Ave., Ste. 100, Wausau, WI 54401, 1-800-236-6775, an SEC-registered investment advisor. Certain representatives of MPPL are also registered representatives of, and offer securities products involving commission or transaction-based fees through APW Capital, Inc., 100 Enterprise Drive, Suite 504, Rockaway, NJ 07866, 1-800-637-3211. Member FINRA/SIPC/MSRB. MPPL is independent of APW Capital, Inc. Registration with the SEC or State Regulatory Authority does not imply a certain level of skill or expertise.