As an orthopaedic surgeon, you realize the impact an accident or injury can have on a person’s life. And though you spend your professional life working to improve the lives of those affected by tragedy, how much thought have you given to the impact an accident could have on your own life—and the lives of those you love?
The AAOS Member Insurance Program’s Disability Income Insurance policy helps ensure that a substantial portion of your income would continue if you were to become sick or disabled and unable to work as an orthopaedic surgeon. Recent improvements in the program make it an even better option for your disability coverage.
The AAOS Member Insurance Program is now offering higher limits through Lloyd’s of London’s Physicians & Surgeons Disability Insurance Plan. This plan allows medical professionals to maintain their standards of living in the event that an injury or illness leaves them unable to work. Plan features include the following:
- Own Occupation coverage—If you have limited your occupation to the performance of the substantial and material duties of a single specialty, that specialty will be deemed your occupation, provided it is a recognized specialty within orthopaedics.
- Benefit period options—If you are older than age 50, you can select coverage terms of 3 to 5 years.
- Benefit payment options—Choose participation limits of 65 percent to 75 percent of income, regardless of the amount earned.
- High-risk medical conditions are considered, even though most traditional carriers will not issue coverage to individuals with high-risk conditions.
Why purchase disability income insurance?
According to the Social Security Administration, 56 million Americans—one in five people—live with disabilities today. Employer-sponsored disability packages only cover a portion of your salary, which might not be sufficient for your family to maintain current living standards.
Additionally, if you are an employed orthopaedic surgeon, you may discover that your employer-sponsored plan has a benefit cap per month or year and may not take into consideration any bonuses you receive. Many group policies (like those automatically provided by an employer as part of a benefit package) limit the amount of time benefits will be paid.
If you were to sustain a disability that is covered under the AAOS Member Disability Insurance Program, the benefits you receive could be used to cover all usual and customary living expenses, including medical expenses related to the disability. This policy can help preserve your income by providing you with monthly benefits until you can get back to work.
Plus, your disability income insurance benefits will be tax-free, as long as you paid the insurance premiums with after-tax money. Because this is an individual policy, it is portable and can go with you if you switch jobs or stop working full time.
If you are a specialist in your field and are paid extra for your skill, disability insurance can lock in this exceptional income. And as a member of a professional association (AAOS), you can benefit from the buying power of the group to obtain discounts not normally available to individuals.
How much do you need?
To calculate how much disability insurance you may need, start by creating a financial worksheet to help prepare for the possibility of becoming disabled. Write down all possible expenses and income determinations for your disability benefit. Table 1 outlines some income and expense considerations to take into account. Remember that your income may be smaller and your medical bills may be higher if you become disabled.
Divide your monthly spending and monthly income into two columns. Total each column, and subtract your total monthly income from your total monthly expenses. The result is the amount of disability benefit you may need from a disability insurance policy.
Make sure that all of the entries on your disability benefit worksheet are estimates during a disability and are not based on current income and current spending habits. In addition, both income taxes payable and the amount you can invest may change.
Most experts will advise that it’s better to be cautious and have too much of a benefit amount rather than too little. If you still question the amount of insurance you would need in the event of a disability, contact a tax professional or accountant for additional guidance and information.
Take the next step
Don’t wait until it’s too late—protect your ability to earn a living should you become disabled. Waiting too long may mean you are no longer qualified to secure a plan, which will affect your current way of life. Make sure that you and your loved ones can continue to live comfortably.
Visit the AAOS Member Insurance Program website (http://aaosinsurance.com) where you can apply for the individual disability income insurance plan at a 10 percent discount. You’ll also find more information to help you make this important financial decision. If you have any questions or would like to receive more information on the AAOS Member Insurance Program’s Disability Income Insurance plan, simply contact an AAOS Member Insurance Program representative directly by calling 866-679-0888.
Coverage may vary or may not be available in all states.
Disability insurance has limitations and exclusions. For costs and complete details of coverage, contact your AAOS Member Insurance Program Administrator. Program is subject to state approval. Disability Insurance is issued by Principal Life Insurance Company, a member of Principal Financial Group®.
Erika Wieland is a copywriter for Pearl Insurance Group.
- U.S. Social Security Administration, “The Faces and Facts of Disability.” Web. June 17, 2014.
- The Motley Fool: “What Factors Should I Consider Before Buying Private Disability Insurance?” Web. ©1995–2014. June 17, 2014.