It is very important to “test” your physician disability insurance coverage before you have a serious illness or injury. No policy is a worthwhile product if it does not provide income replacement in the event of a disability. Many articles have been written in magazines such as Medical Economics, Private Practice, Money Magazine and Consumer Reports to help you make an informed decision about disability insurance. In this two part post, we will be using recurring topics from these articles to compare the disability insurance product offered through the A.C.P. against high-performing private disability insurance.
It is very important – and very common – to “test” your disability insurance coverage before you have a serious illness or injury.
1. Is the policy non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable?
Look for contract language that states, “Until you reach age 65, your policy cannot be canceled, premiums cannot be increased and restrictions cannot be added, as long as you continue paying premiums as due.” A policy is non-cancelable if, until age 65, your policy premiums cannot be increased. A policy is guaranteed renewable if, until age 65, it can neither be canceled nor can restrictions be added.
A.C.P Plan Brochure – Premiums go up at five-year age brackets (30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60). Per A.C.P brochure, premium contributions reflect the current rate and benefits structure. New York Life may change premium contributions on any premium due date and any date on which benefits are changed.
A.C.P Plan Brochure – Coverage will end if: You cease full-time work other than for reasons of Disability, cease to be an A.C.P member, fail to pay premium contributions when due, enter full-time active duty in Armed Forces (coverage will be restored upon termination of active duty status, subject to policy guidelines), or Group Policy is terminated or modified by the policyholder or New York Life to end insurance on the group of insureds to which you belong.
A.C.P Plan Fails This Test – Coverage can be cancelled and premiums are not guaranteed.
2. Is total disability defined in your policy as Own Occupation/Own Specialty without qualifications?
Look for contract language that states, “Total disability means that you are not able to perform the material and substantial duties of your occupation. If you have limited your duties to a professionally recognized specialty, your occupation is that specialty. Income from new occupation or specialty will not reduce your benefit.” It is important to have a policy in place that defines your occupation using “specialty specific” language. In other words, if you are a brain surgeon, you don’t want your occupation to be defined under the same language as a family physician (as that could render you ineligible to receive your benefit). Furthermore, if you are unable to return to your specialty, it is more important to have a policy that will not cease paying benefits if you decide to explore other career options, whether in a different medical field or a different industry all together.
A.C.P Plan Brochure – Total disability is defined as an incapacity from an injury or sickness that you suffer while you are insured under the policy, but only if such incapacity completely and continuously prevents you from doing the material and substantial duties of your medical specialty or specialties, provided you are not otherwise engaged in any gainful occupation.
A.C.P Plan Fails this Test – Not true own occupation/own specialty coverage. In this coverage, if you are unable to perform surgery, but decide to explore a career in teaching, or any other career, you will no longer be eligible for total disability benefits.
Stay tuned for our next post later this week that covers two more areas where we put the A.A.F.P. Plan to the test: residual benefits and recovery benefits. You’re welcome to contact us even sooner if you would like to run your current policy through the test. Whether it is a Group, Association or Individual disability insurance policy, we perform free policy reviews and quotes.