The Definition of Disabled
This definition is what your disability insurance carrier uses to determine when, or if, they consider you disabled and eligible to receive your benefit payments.
Being disabled cannot simply be defined as a sickness or injury that prevents you from “working”. Based on your education and experience in becoming a physician, it is going to take a lot to prevent you from “working” in some capacity.
Your disability insurance policy must define you as disabled if a sickness or injury makes it so you are no longer able, or you are no longer comfortable, working as a physician – and it should not penalize you if you engage in another occupation.
As with many important decisions; the devil is in the details… This is very true when it comes to disability insurance, and the carriers make the details and specifics of their policies a challenge to understand.
Does your policy say: “We will consider you disabled when you cannot perform the duties as a physician, and you prove to us that you cannot perform the duties of any other reasonable occupation?”
This definition is offered by some group policies and is not desirable.
Does your policy say: “We will consider you disabled when you cannot perform the duties as a physician, so long as you are not gainfully employed in any other occupation from now until the age of 65”.
This definition is offered through some group policies, the AMA and other professional medical association plans, and is also not desirable.
Your policy should say: “You are considered totally disabled when you are unable to work as a physician, and we will still consider you totally disabled even if you work in another occupation”.
This definition of disabled is the only one considered TRUE Own Specialty, and the type of coverage you should have. This means if you cannot continue working as a physician, you can do something else AND collect your tax-free disability benefit.
Don’t have Disability Insurance yet?