It’s hard to imagine where our country would be during this pandemic if it weren’t for the dedication of our doctors and nurses. They are on the frontlines every day battling this deadly pandemic. Many doctors and nurses have underlying health issues of their own but are putting their own health at risk to save their patients. In this article, we will discuss the disability insurance issues affecting doctors and nurses during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Increase in Long Term Disability Claims
Doctors and nurses are used to a high level of stress as part of the nature of their jobs. But the COVID-19 crisis has brought longer shifts and a higher number of patients to nearly every hospital in America, causing the stress level of doctors and nurses to reach their maximum. This has caused an increase in the number of disability claims. With so many companies asking employees to work from home, the claims process could take longer than expected. The earlier you can file, the sooner your claim will be evaluated.
Short Term vs. Long Term Disability
Most doctors have short term and long term disability policies. Some doctors even add on supplemental policies in their area of expertise. If you are a doctor or nurse that works in a medical facility as an employee, you most likely have a group policy through your employer. You would need to check with your HR department. Doctors or nurses that have their own practice usually have to purchase an individual short and long term disability policy.
Short term disability usually covers the first 90-180 days, and long term disability coverage starts after a waiting period that usually coincides with the days when your short-term disability policy covers you. If approved for long term disability, you could be eligible to receive benefits until you’re 65 or longer depending on your policy.
Partial Disability Options
Depending on your specialty, you may be able to receive partial disability benefits while you are seeking treatment. For example, If you are unable to work in the emergency room due to your disability, but you are able to work doing telehealth services with patients, you may be entitled to partially disabled benefits if your income decreases due to the setting change.
Own Occupation Coverage vs. Any Occupation Coverage
A true own-occupation coverage refers to your specific occupation and your essential duties of that occupation. This type of policy will have the best coverage options. For example, you are a heart surgeon. You are not just a doctor; you are a surgeon with a specialty in cardiovascular surgery. To file a successful own occupation claim, you must be unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your particular occupation.
Any occupation refers to being able to find gainful employment that is suited for your work experience and education level. Claims that are filed under any occupation are examined to determine your level of employability. The insurance company will look to see if you can work in any capacity with accommodations in your previous field of work and use this to deny your claim. A typical definition of “gainful occupation” is: “an occupation, including self-employment, that is or can be expected to provide you with an income equal to at least 60% of your indexed monthly earnings.”
Read Your Policy
Your policy will outline what is considered a disability and what coverage you are entitled to receive. You may find that your coverage is greater than you thought, or you could find out that you have less coverage than you thought. That is why it’s so important to read your policy thoroughly to know your benefit options.
Mental Health Conditions
When you are applying for a new mental health condition, it is important that you can show you are in treatment for your condition. If you have a history of mental illness, but your symptoms have increased to the point that you can no longer work, you must be able to show that. Being in treatment that is appropriate for your condition is very important to your claim.
Many doctors and nurses feel as though they can power through and continue working even with a disability. Some feel ashamed to file a claim, especially for one that involves mental illness. This can put you and your patients more at risk. When you delay filing a claim, you may miss your chance to file a claim.
Consult An Attorney
The experienced disability attorneys at the Ortiz Law Firm can help you through every step of the process, from appeals to a potential lawsuit. They only get paid if you win your case. You can seek help without worrying about upfront costs or unexpected bills. Our law experts will focus on your case so you can focus on your illness.
The Ortiz Law Firm offers a free consultation with no obligation to use our firm. During the call, you can ask any questions you have regarding your letter to your employer, and we will answer them. The Ortiz Law Firm has successfully represented people in disability cases across the United States. To see how we can help you win your long-term disability case, call us at (888) 321- 8131.
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