12 Questions to Ask About Your Disability Insurance

If you haven't reviewed your disability coverage lately, you should. These 12 questions will get you started.

When was the last time you had a review conducted of your disability insurance? It’s very possible you don’t have the coverage you think you have, and you could have huge gaps in your disability coverage.

If you’re a hospitalist it is possible you have a lower level of coverage today than when you first started working. The same way health benefits can change from year to year, disability benefits can change from year to year. In a medical world of rising costs and lower revenues, some employers could try to save money by lowering coverage. Here are some questions that you should know the answers to about your disability coverage:

• Does your policy cover you for own occupation?

• If your policy covers you for own occupation, does it include your particular medical specialty?

• What is the elimination period or waiting period — 60 days, 90 days, 120 days or 360 days?

• Are your benefits tax-free or are they taxable?

• Is your coverage portable if you leave your current employer?

• How much will your rates go up in the future?

• Can you increase your benefits in the future, and if so, how much?

• Are the premiums waived during the time benefits are paid?

• How long are benefits paid?

• Can the benefits be canceled?

• What are the policy exclusions?

• What is the policy definition of a disability?

If you don’t know the answers to even one of these 12 questions you absolutely need a review of your disability policy. You just might discover you need to buy a supplemental disability policy. If you’re in private practice, you may discover you need an entirely new policy. The point is, you don't want to find out the hard way about gaps in your disability policy.

I recently worked with a physician to put together a retirement plan for him. He was behind on his retirement savings and he could not afford to be without income. As we discussed how much money he expected to make between now and his retirement we talked about what would happen if he were unable to work. To my surprise, he did not have disability insurance. He had disability coverage in the past, but he let it go. Unfortunately, he no longer qualifies for disability coverage. That physician absolutely has a real need for disability insurance coverage and he is unable to obtain it at any price.

My message is don’t let that happen to you. Contact an agent today, and make sure you have the coverage you need, and that there are no gaps in your coverage. Always keep that coverage in place because if you lose the coverage, you may not be able to get it again in the future.

If you have questions send me an email to David@TheAlemianFile.com. Check out my website PhysiciansRetirementPlan.com. Follow me on Twitter, connect with me on LinkedIn, and absolutely make sure you come back here next week to Physicians Money Digest for another edition of The Alemian File.