Being a dermatologist is a wonderful, rewarding profession. Dermatologists help us in many ways and led people with skin issues on a journey to recovery. The pay you receive as a dermatologist will likely increase over time. However, there are some situations that may prevent you from performing your work and earning an income, which leads us to the topic of this article – dermatologist disability insurance claims.
A disabling illness or injury often comes without warning. You could be involved in a debilitating accident that prevents you from working. If a dermatologist cannot perform at peak levels or isn’t able to perform their job at all, they may lose their source of income and find themselves facing many problems – unless they have disability insurance. Disability insurance for dermatologists will help replace their lost income and maintain their standard of living.
Disability Insurance for Dermatologists
There are various components of disability insurance that dermatologists should be aware of when considering options for disability insurance during residency:
- Residual Disability Benefit – Residual disability benefit is a plan for those who have a partial disability that may result in a limited ability to work and decreased earnings. This type of plan comes into effect once the income of the dermatologist drops by 15-20%. The plan is beneficial as you won’t have to wait till you are completely unable to work to start getting benefits. People with conditions such as MS and Parkinson’s can benefit from this plan.
- Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) – No one knows how long their disability will last. COLA riders increase your benefit amount over time for long-term claims. There are two types of COLA rider offered by insurance companies: a flat percentage increase and one that increases with the inflation index.
Group vs. Individual Disability Insurance
Disability insurance can be obtained as part of a group benefits plan or as an individual disability insurance policy. This entirely depends on the needs of a person and their place of work. Some dermatologists work in large dermatologist clinics which usually offer group disability insurance policies that cover all the employees.
Those who aren’t able to get group insurance can get an individual disability insurance policy from a carrier of their choice. There are those whose clinic offers group insurance, but they are not satisfied with it. A person can decide to add individual insurance for themselves. You can also reject the group insurance altogether and get individual disability insurance for dermatologists with a definition of disability that will work best for you.
The Definition of Disability in Dermatologist Disability Insurance Claims
An “own occupation” or “own-occ” disability policy is a popular form of dermatologist long-term disability insurance. “Own occ” disability insurance policies state that an individual is considered totally disabled and eligible for a monthly benefit to offset the loss of income when a person’s disability renders them unable to perform the duties they are required to do in their position or specific medical specialty.
There are three types of “own-occ” disability insurance. They are:
- True Own Occupation – This defines a situation where you are completely unable to perform the functions of your medical specialty due to disability from injury and sickness, even if you are employed in another field. This will help the person receive full disability income benefits even if they are working in a different medical specialty or a different job altogether.
- Modified Own Occupation – Defines disability from injury or sickness as the inability to perform material and substantial duties of your job as performed in the regular national economy. This coverage may not be suitable for all dermatologists.
- Any Occupation – Defines disability as an inability to perform any material and substantial duties in any job that you are suited to work in. One will only receive benefits if one is unable to perform the duties of any job.
Many “own occ” policies will switch to “any occ” after a certain number of months. The differences between the “own occ” and “any occ” definition can be technical and confusing. The insurance company will do whatever it can to muddy the waters and make claims harder to file to avoid payouts.
For dermatologists, you are advised to get only True Own Occupation disability policies and avoid the others. The others have a lot of coverage gray areas to avoid having to pay benefits and will not work the best for you in many situations.
Claim Denied by the Insurance Company? Hire a Disability Insurance Attorney
If you are disabled and you have any problems obtaining benefits under your disability insurance coverage, it is best that you get help from a disability attorney who has experience handling claims for physicians. An attorney will help you with administrative appeals and, if necessary, filing a lawsuit against the insurance company.
You should work with an experienced firm such as the legal team at Ortiz Law Firm. We have all the experience and knowledge needed to help you win your case. We are a team that cares about our clients, and we understand that dermatologist disability cases can be sensitive matters. We will work diligently to ensure that you get the justice you deserve. Contact us online or call us at (888) 321-8131 to schedule a free case evaluation.