When you think about it, it’s easy to understand why you buy health and life insurance. Health insurance helps provide coverage for health care when you’re sick or injured, or preventive care at other times; and life insurance provides a financial safety net for your loved ones if you’re no longer with them.
What you probably don’t think about is a gray area not covered by either health or life insurance. What happens when illness or accidents keep you from working and earning a paycheck? Most of us don’t think about either happening to us, but those unexpected illnesses or accidents could keep us from working and receiving a paycheck. That could be financially devastating and it’s where an income protection plan like disability insurance plays a role.
The case for disability insurance
Many physicians make the mistake of thinking they don’t need to worry about becoming disabled. They don’t realize that the most common reasons for disability aren’t on-the-job injuries. In fact, they’re for1:
- musculoskeletal disorders (back, spine, hips, and shoulders)
- digestive disorders (such as hernias and gastritis)
- anxiety, depression and other mental health issues
- heart disease
- fractures, sprains, and strains of muscles and ligaments
And, considering the following statistics, there’s a greater chance of experiencing a disability – and of it having a greater impact − than you realize.
- The average worker faces a 3 in 10 chance of being disabled for 90 days or more.2
- According to the Federal Reserve, only 48 percent of American adults say they have enough savings to cover three months of living expenses in the event they’re not earning any income.3
- Workers’ Compensation isn’t the answer. It only covers time away from work if the disabling illness or injury is directly work-related. In 2016, only one percent of American workers missed work because of an occupational illness or injury.4
No paycheck = no money coming in
As physician, you might believe if you have access to a computer, you’ll always be able to work. Unfortunately, that may not be the case if traveling, seeing patients, and more are part of your responsibilities.
Could you do everything your job entails if you become disabled? Then, think about what happens next. If you don’t have a regular paycheck coming in, how will the mortgage, utility bills, credit card payments, savings, gas and car payments, groceries, and the rest of your household expenses be paid? Not to mention repayment of student loans or other career costs you may have.
Protect your income
With disability insurance, it’s as if you keep receiving a paycheck when illness or injury stop you from working. You can choose a benefit of up to $10,000 per month with the American Academy of Pediatrics Insurance Program’s long-term Group Disability Insurance. This income protection plan is available to you at lower, members-only rates, and it’s a cost-effective way to protect your budget from the consequences of a disability. And, it helps supplement gaps in any employer-provided coverage, which usually doesn’t provide as generous a benefit or coverage time frame, and may be taxed, decreasing the amount you receive. The insurance is yours to keep, regardless if you switch firms or jobs. Plus, the AAP Insurance Program’s group disability insurance can be paid for with after tax dollars, which makes benefits tax free.
Get the coverage that works when you can’t
The evidence is clear − disability coverage should be part of your complete financial plan. Click here to find out more about long-term Group Disability Insurance with the AAP Insurance Program. Or, call a licensed representative at 1-800-257-3220.
1Integrated Benefits Institute, Health and Productivity Benchmarking 2016 (released November 2017), Short-Term Disability, All Employers. Condition-specific results
2 Council for Disability Awareness 2018
3Federal Reserve, Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2016 (PDF), page 26.
4Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses (Annual) 2016, Table1 Incidence rates of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses by industry and case types, cases with days away from work.
5Medical debt as a cause of consumer bankruptcy https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2515321