Being a nurse means putting other people's health and wellness first while yours takes the backseat. Your occupation is all about dedicating your life to helping others. Whether you work in a clinic, hospital, or classroom, you are on your feet most of the time to meet your job's physical demands. This can take a toll on your body. Your noble role as a nurse comes with significant disability risks. To support yourself and your dependents, if any, you rely on your income. Being unable to work in times of sickness isn't usually an option. So, what can you do? This article highlights everything you need to know about long-term disability insurance regarding your profession, why it's essential, and what to consider when looking for the right policy.
Do I need to buy long-term disability insurance?
The answer is yes. Long-term disability insurance for nurses should be considered a priority. Nursing professionals invest substantial time and money into honing their skills and building a career. It's a significant investment that needs safeguarding with a proper contingency plan. Add to that the fact that this industry also yields healthy incomes that are important to protect. These factors, along with the high risk of injury in the nursing profession, make long-term disability benefits essential for nurses.
When the tables turn, a lot can happen to your current finances. You need coverage for your current income if a sudden illness or injury doesn't allow you to perform your job duties.
Although some progress has been made to better protect nurses from injury and accidents, the healthcare industry's added strain increases these proportions among nurses due to overworking.
Current estimates indicate registered nurses, nursing assistants, and orderlies suffer approximately 35,000 injuries each year. Not to mention the physical and emotional challenges that accompany this occupation, like high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and other chronic issues.
As a nurse, you have seen first-hand how drastic and life-altering the impact of a serious injury or illness has on patients. Why not consider long-term disability coverage for peace of mind?
Things to look out for in long-term disability insurance policies:
Whether you have private or employer-sponsored long-term disability coverage:
Purchasing your own insurance policy is always best, as it provides more flexibility and, therefore, added peace of mind. You don't get to choose the terms and conditions of your long-term disability benefits if it's provided by your employer.
Consider your long-term disability insurance plan's definition of total disability:
Most long-term policies generally define "disability" in two ways. An own-occupation policy typically requires that the insured be unable to perform the material and substantial duties of his/her particular occupation to be considered "totally disabled." If you have an any-occupation policy, the insurance provider covers your long-term disability coverage if you are unable to work in any capacity, even employment outside of your profession. If you are considered capable of working but choose not to, your claims will be denied.
Any exclusions or limitations that may impact your claim:
This could be the case in many long-term disability policies. It is therefore important to look out for policies that don't impose limitations or exclude pre-existing conditions. A disability insurance policy without a self-reported or other limited condition clause is preferable if at all possible.
Long-term disability coverage starts after the insurance company has approved you, you accept the offer for coverage, and you begin paying your premiums. However, when long-term disability benefits start isn't as straightforward. Your policy's elimination period will determine when long-term disability benefits kick in if you become disabled. This is also known as the waiting period because it states the period of time you must wait after your disabling event and ends when you begin receiving benefits. Most long-term disability policies have a 90-day elimination or waiting period, which means that you cannot receive long-term disability benefits until this period expires. It could be a good idea to seek short-term policies in the meantime.
The right timing to buy long-term disability insurance:
You can buy long-term disability insurance when you are still in nursing school to secure lower rates, protect your income potential and ensure coverage is in place as soon as you enter the workforce.
The cost of disability insurance:
The cost of disability insurance depends on your age, health, income, the benefits and features of your disability insurance policy, the type of nursing you practice, and the type of facility you work in.
Long-term disability insurance for nurses may mean paying more in premiums, as nursing is considered a high-risk job. But it is worth the investment. Once you have decided about having that kind of backup to protect you, it is important that you fully understand the scope of your disability insurance coverage to buy the long-term disability insurance that suits your needs. At Asteya, we take a proactive approach in helping you find the right policy and assess your eligibility for benefits.
See our disability insurance pricing here.