Medical Resident/Fellow

Physicians & Disability

As a medical resident or fellow, you have invested much time, money, and energy into your profession.  If you’ve not already done so, it’s time to think about protecting that investment.

You’re not earning a practicing physician’s income yet, but you would have much to lose in future earnings if you became disabled now without a disability insurance policy. You could also risk your future earnings if you developed a potentially disabling condition before you get a good disability insurance policy.

Physicians, along with dentists, are more likely than any other profession or occupation to purchase an individual disability insurance policy.  There are several reasons why:

  • Most physicians see sickness and disability every day in their practice of medicine. Many times it’s physicians who inform patients that they may qualify for disability.  This keeps the idea of becoming disabled front and center.
  • Many physicians, especially specialists, perform fine motor skill procedures. An injury or sickness that does not disable the average worker might very well disable a physician for a long period of time, if not permanently.
  • Physicians earn significantly more income than most workers. Whenever there’s more income earned, there’s more to be lost due to disability. Disability is one of the biggest financial fears of most physicians.
  • Some physicians work in small practices and are responsible for providing their own disability insurance. Increasing numbers of physicians work for large clinics or hospitals. Many of those employers provide free group long-term disability benefits. But group disability benefits seldom provide the amount or quality of coverage most physicians need and want. This leaves a need for supplemental, individual disability policies that the physician must take the responsibility to purchase.

Essential Policy Features

During residency and/or fellowship, you have heard a lot about disability insurance policies and their importance. While it’s a good time to purchase a policy, it’s also important to purchase the policy that would best meet your needs.

Not all policies are alike. The quality of a disability policy, and the likelihood that it will meet your needs, is primarily determined by the definitions and benefit options that are included in the policy. There are several essential policy features for physicians.  

What Do You Have To Lose?

According to the Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2016, the average annual physician income nationwide is between $250,000-$300,000. Depending on your medical specialty, you could expect to earn more than the average.

As a resident or fellow, you are currently earning much less than the average practicing physician. If you became disabled now, you would lose your current income.  If you remained disabled long term or permanently, you would also stand to lose much or all of your potential future earnings.

That could be a lot to lose.  Based on a salary of $300,000 with a 2% annual increase, the average physician can expect to earn  over $11,000,000 during a 30 year career.

Consider a Disability Policy

There are several insurance companies that offer individual disability insurance policies that are appropriate for physicians.  For medical residents and fellows, most of them will typically offer a maximum policy of $6,000/month and one company will offer a maximum policy of $6,500/month.

To make it easier to afford disability insurance policies now, most of the leading carriers offer premium discounts to residents and fellows at qualified hospitals.

Purchasing a disability policy now would help protect your current income. By including Future Increase Options in your policy, you could also potentially protect your higher future income as well.

Future Increase Options

By adding Future Increase Options to your policy, you can lock in the opportunity to significantly increase your policy benefit – without proof of your good health – after you become a practicing physician with a substantial income.

This feature can prove to be invaluable if you develop new health conditions after you get your initial policy but before you apply for additional coverage.

What Residents Need to Know About Disability Insurance

I was recently asked, "What do medical residents need to know about disability insurance? My first thoughts  were about getting a policy with Own Occupation protection and with the best benefit features. But those things are important for every doctor who needs a...

Top 3 Reasons Why Residents & Students Should Apply for DI

If you’re a medical or dental school student or resident, now is the time to purchase your first disability insurance policy.  You have already invested much time and money in your profession and it’s time to get serious about protecting your investment. Even though...

Learn More About Disability Insurance

We’ll help you explore your options for purchasing a disability insurance policy.  To learn more, contact Greg Conway at 704-609-0231 or greg@gtconway.com.  Click below to request a quote or to request a free consultation.

Request a Disability Insurance QuoteRequest a Free Consultation