What is Physician's Disability Insurance?

Matthew Brodsky
Matthew Brodsky

Disability insurance is one of the more common kinds of business and individual insurance. It protects a person if they get ill or hurt and are unable to work and earn income. Unlike medical insurance, which helps to pay the doctor and hospital bills when someone gets sick or injured, disability insurance can provide money to help people pay their rent, their electric bill or whatever else they normally need income for. For professionals with larger incomes like physicians, disability insurance is as important, if not more so, than for average workers. The protection is important enough for doctors that there is a unique type of insurance called physician's disability insurance designed just to meet their needs.

A physician's disability insurance policy can help doctors protect all of their assets and savings if they are injured or ill and become unable to continue to practicing medicine. The insurance can provide money to help meet financial obligations like mortgages, other insurance premiums, monthly bills and vehicle payments. This money can come from the disability insurance policy when other policies might not pay out. For example, health insurance only pays for the medical bills associated with the illness or injury. Workers' compensation insurance would only cover an injury sustained on the job.

Another benefit of physician's disability insurance is that it can be designed to cover one specific occupation. For instance, orthopedists could buy physician's disability insurance policies that pay out exclusively if they suffer an injury or illness and are unable to perform their tasks as orthopedists. They still get the benefit of their disability insurance even if they are able to find work in another occupation, for instance, as a college professor. Many other types of disability insurance do not have this feature and would prohibit a doctor from working anywhere else.

Compared with another type of insurance policy called group disability insurance, physician's disability insurance has other distinctions. Group disability plans are paid for and set up by employers, and because of this, a doctors wouldn't have control if his or her employer decided to change or terminate the disability insurance. Another potential limitation of group disability insurance is that it does not follow workers when they go from one employer to another. Government-paid social security disability, can be difficult to qualify for and can prevent an individual from working in any occupation.

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