Avoid the "School of Hard Knocks"

Unfortunately, many health care professionals learn (after the fact) that their disability insurance does not provide the level of protection they expect and need. At Reynolds, our philosophy (actually, obsession), is to provide you with premier information and expert advice before, during and after choosing a disability policy.

Don't get your disability education from the "School of Hard Knocks."

Choosing The Right Level of Protection

Start by asking these initial questions:

1. Does your policy provide (true own) occupation coverage?
2. Is it portable?
3. Is the premium guaranteed?
4. Can the insurance company add any restrictions?
5. Can the insurance company cancel my policy?
6. Is the coverage adequate for my income?
7. Are the monthly payments (benefits) enough to meet my financial obligations?
8. Will my monthly payments sustain my current lifestyle?
9. Is your benefit tax-free?

Important Features of a Disability Policy

1. Definition of Total Disability
2. True Own Occupation Coverage
3. Modified Own Occupation Coverage
4. Residual Disability Insurance
5. Renewability 
6. Optional Riders


Policy Language You Need to Understand

1. Presumptive
2. Recurrent
3. Elimination Period
4. Benefit Period
5. Policy Exclusions


Education and Empowerment


Definition of Disability

The definition of disability in a policy should be crystal clear since the core of any disability policy is based upon this definition. Group policies tend toward a standard definition with minimal benefits.  The definition varies however amongst individual policies.

Understanding the different definitions and what they really mean should you become disabled becomes important for physicians and is especially important for resident physicians.  We are here to tell you why.

The definition of disability ultimately determines how any claim you make for benefits will be judged.  When specific wording is applied to you as a physician and to your specialty you want little room for interpretation.  Specific wording in the definition directs the path of the claim.

It is important to learn the three significant definitions which exist in the industry.  As a resident physician you are uniquely exposed to risk factors in your work environment.  One example is the relevant possible exposure to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).  

This website is designed to help you understand how these definitions affect you should you become disabled due to an injury or illness and how these definitions may affect you should you be diagnosed HIV Positive.


True “Own Occupation Coverage”

The most favorable definition of disability available is regarded as “true own occupation coverage” and is defined as: 

You will be considered totally disabled if you are unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your regular occupation. 

If because of a sickness or injury you cannot perform the duties of your occupation, you will be considered totally disabled, (receive full benefits) even if you choose to work in another occupation. 

The value of this policy to a physician that is specialized is that it covers the physician for that particular specialty. A physician would receive full benefits if he or she could no longer perform the duties of that specialty but could work in another occupation or medical specialty. 


Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Of great value to physicians, especially residents, is the implementation of this definition with regard to a medical or dental practitioner diagnosed HIV positive.  If a medical or dental practitioner diagnosed HIV positive is unable to perform the duties of his or her occupation due to legally mandated regulations then the individual will likely be considered totally disabled within the confines of policy definition.

This makes a true own occupation definition vitally important to a physician who is not suffering debilitating symptoms but is unable to perform the duties of his or her occupation due to conditions previously stated.

Full disability benefits may be received for the duration of the policy even though this physician is working in some other form or capacity. The few disability carriers that offer this quality of protection to physicians will have the terms of coverage stated in a separate “HIV Position Letter.”  It is important to request and review this letter when considering purchasing coverage.


AMA Compliant

The “true own occupation” definition most adequately adheres to an important policy set forth by the American Medical Association (H-295.948) which states that”

“all residency programs should offer insurance policies that include disability coverage for HIV infection.”


Non-Cancellable/Guaranteed Renewable


Guaranteed Renewable - This provision precludes the insurance company from canceling the policy or making any changes in the provisions of the policy.  This protects you should the risk of you becoming disabled increases for any reason.


Non-Cancellable - A Non-Cancellable Policy is a policy specifying that, as long as you pay your premiums on time, the insurer cannot raise your premium and cannot cancel your policy.  Without this protective feature an insurer would be likely to raise premium rates over time or cancel the policy if a claim was ensued.


When the term “Non-Cancellable” is added to “Guaranteed Renewable”, the insurance company cannot change any policy provisions, cannot cancel the policy on you and it cannot increase the premiums.  These combined features (as they are often presented) are paramount for a superior individual disability product. 


With an endorsed deeply discounted product the savings can be considered insurmountable over time since the premium rate is locked in for the duration of the policy.   A young resident physician truly benefits since premium rates increase with age.



Disability Protection You Can Trust

For over 30 years, Reynolds has been helping physicians and other health care professionals make unbiased decisions about disability and benefits protection. As an independent, family-owned business, we are trusted by many of America's most respected hospitals and health care systems.

Ask a Benefits Expert For More Information: 877-722-6389.