Imagine that you were unable to provide medical care to patients or earn money for an entire year. How would your life change? How would you replace your income if you got too sick or injured to work? Some people have enough money saved away to sustain themselves through long periods without an income – but what if you didn’t? In the United States, living paycheck to paycheck is the most prevalent financial lifestyle, with a rising number of even high-income individuals living this way. According to the 2022 LendingClub report, 61% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, the report also found that even the highest-paid workers are having trouble making ends meet.
Why does every surgeon need disability insurance?
To answer this question, let's start by defining what disability insurance or income insurance as we like to call it at Asteya, is a policy that supplements your income in the event you’re unable to work due to illness or injury—you can think of it as your financial safety net. Disability insurance is often time overlooked because people either are unaware that it exists or have the wrong idea about what it actually is.
Many professionals don't think disability insurance is important because they think it covers the same kinds of injuries that can happen on a construction site or factory floor. Little do they know that most disabilities are actually caused by health problems.
In fact, and according to study, cancer, heart disease, and arthritis cause 90% of long-term disabilities. The same study reveals that 95% of accidents and illnesses that can get in the way of your work are not actually caused by the job itself.
Surgeons know how quickly a medical emergency can change a person's life, especially when surgeries can be on the expensive side. In addition to the medical bills, surgery can overwhelm the patient in terms of expenses, making it difficult for them to pay for other bills such as a mortgage, child's school tuition, cable bill, groceries, etc. Don't forget that the road to recovery after surgery can also cost money.
“I have an emergency savings account that I can rely on, I don't need disability insurance"
You might be thinking, “I have an emergency savings account, so I don’t need disability insurance” – if that’s the case, that’s incredible! But even if you have enough savings to provide a financial safety net when the unexpected happens, have you thought about how long your savings could sustain you? Or what draining your savings might mean for the future? For example, you now might not have the capacity to afford college tuition for your kids.
The reality is that disabilities are unpredictable – they can happen anytime, anywhere, and will no doubt affect your financial wellbeing, which influences your overall wellbeing.
“I can get benefits from SSDI, I don’t need additional coverage”
You get access to governmental programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if you pay your taxes. However, the application process can take too long, only to be rejected if your disability doesn’t fall within their definitions. If you qualify and are accepted for these programs, the monthly benefits are, at best, very small. In fact, the average disability benefit given by Social Security recorded in 2022 reaches $1,358. Federal benefit programs won't make up for much of your lost income if you're a surgeon making an average of $373,000 annually.
For this reason, thinking about buying a supplemental disability insurance policy can be the best way to protect your income sufficiently. If you’re unable to work because of illness or an accident, supplemental disability insurance is an individual policy that can assist in securing your income. There are a lot of benefits to supplemental disability insurance. The application is straightforward and may be finished in a short amount of time. Most notably, the coverage is yours to keep regardless of whether you stay with your current employer or not. Ideally, a supplemental disability insurance policy should cover 60-80% of your income as a surgeon.
“Disability Insurance is super expensive, I’m not sure I can afford it”
Protecting your income shouldn’t be a luxury, so here at Asteya, we’ve created affordable and easy solutions that won’t drain what you’re trying to protect (your income!). We offer disability insurance (or disability income insurance, as we like to call it) that’s simple, fast, and affordable. Our 100% digital process means we don’t tire you out with proof of income, medical exams, phone interviews, or wait times, so you can go from applicant to insured in no time. Our prices start as low as:
Permanent Disability Income Insurance: starting at $6.05/month
Sickness & Injury Disability Income Insurance: starting at $5/month
How much disability coverage do surgeons need?
If you want to make sure your income is secure in the event of a disability, you should get the maximum disability benefit possible. In that case, approximately 60% of your annual salary should be set aside for this. Even if you are already covered for disability in some way, it is highly likely that you find supplemental disability coverage of your own.
Let's say you're a surgeon who receives $5,000 per month in disability benefits from your employer's long-term disability plan. But with responsibilities at home and your annual salary of $400,000, your benefits are extremely inadequate. In the event of an emergency, your family would be better protected by a supplemental policy that provides up to $15,000.
You can tailor your coverage to the level of risk you're willing to take by changing the value of your assets. In the event that your job takes an unforeseen turn after you have achieved financial independence, you will no longer need your disability policy.
To know how much coverage you would need here’s something to help you calculate:
- Add up all your monthly costs, such as your mortgage or rent, insurance, loans, utilities, and other costs, as well as how much you’re saving for your financial goals.
- If your monthly payments are more than 60% of your income, consider looking into the premium disability policies to get higher benefits.
- If your expenses don't take up more than 60% of your income, you might be able to pay for less coverage.
How much does disability insurance for surgeons cost?
One of the most important determining variables in how much you'll pay each month is your medical specialty. Specialties are assessed based on their level of risk. For instance, if you work as a general surgeon, you’re viewed differently from a cardiologist in terms of risk.
Additionally, insurance companies evaluate the volume of claims for each specialty to identify those that are more vulnerable to claims. In addition to having a higher risk of injury, several specialties also have higher claims of mental illness and drug usage. All these claims are taken into account in the calculation.
The surgeon specialties that insurance companies evaluate are:
- Cardiothoracic surgeons
- General surgeons
- Oral and maxillofacial surgeons
- Pediatric surgeons
- Plastic surgeons
- Trauma and orthopedic surgeons
- Vascular surgeons
- Academic surgeons
In general, you should expect to pay between 1-3% of your annual salary. Your income has a direct impact on the amount of coverage you’ll receive, so the higher your income, the higher your benefit amount and the more you can expect to pay in monthly premium.
Subheading 4: How to apply for disability insurance as a surgeon?
As a surgeon, there are two things you should look for in a disability insurance policy.
Insurance companies categorize jobs into various risk categories based on previous data. The greater your risk of submitting a claim, the higher your premium. According to statistics, the older you are, the more likely you are to become disabled and the more likely you are to have higher premiums. By getting coverage now, you can save money in the long run.
Additionally, as a surgeon in practice, it's a good idea to have a policy with a future purchase option, also known as a future increase option, a future insurability option, or a benefits update rider. This lets you buy more insurance coverage for a disability policy you already have through your employer. And with this, you increase your coverage by showing proof that you can pay for it, without having to go through any more medical underwriting.
Asteya’s disability policy is the right fit for you. It’s quick, easy, and totally online.
At Asteya, applying for disability insurance as a surgeon is incredibly simple. The application is completely digital so there’s no need for medical exams, blood tests, phone calls or lengthy paper applications. Asteya's underwriting occurs in real-time which means you can obtain a policy in 30 minutes or less!
Subheading 5: What are the typical extras that physicians need to add to their insurance?
Student loan protection: When you’ve just entered your profession, you probably came with a sizable amount of debt from student loans on your shoulders and are still a few years away from the high-paying medical income of your dreams. Having a benefit that can provide you with additional funds to pay off your loans is a smart addition because they won't just disappear if you become unable to work and make an income.
Benefits for partial disability: Having an unexpected medical issue of any kind can be stressful, and even less serious disabilities can prevent you from working. If you’re unable to perform some duties at work but don’t require total disability benefits, a partial disability benefit will be paid out to cover your income.
Retirement insurance: You’re aware that you won't be able to practice medicine indefinitely, and you intend to enjoy your retirement with the money you have worked so hard to earn. However, your attention shifts to taking care of your immediate living costs when you’re dealing with an injury or illness. The addition of this protection to your insurance policy can help to supplement those contributions until you're back in regular work because those months or even years of lost retirement savings can have a significant impact on your later years.
Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA): Life is expensive and continues to cost us more and more each year. So, what happens if your benefit amount meets your needs now but won't in a few years due to inflation and the state of the world's economies? To reflect these increases in living expenses, COLA add-ons will raise the benefit amount you receive each year that you’re disabled. If you're taking out a policy when you're younger and can benefit from the lower upfront premiums, this is a great addition.
The bottom line
No matter your occupation or your background, disability insurance should be one of the main policies that you should consider getting. The peace of mind that comes with having disability insurance is knowing that you and your family's living expenses will be covered no matter what happens to you.
If you're still on the fence about whether disability income insurance is for you (hint: it is), here are a few extra points to consider while thinking about it:
- Asteya’s policy is a no brainer, seeing that it is 100% digital. We don't require blood tests or doctor's appointments, unlike other insurers. We'll just ask you a few questions to determine your best policy.
- You’ll be all set once your policy is in place! You'll pay your premiums quarterly, monthly, or annually for the duration of your policy.
- If the unexpected happens and you need to file a claim, our team will be there to assist you in receiving the funds you require as soon as possible. When your claim is approved, you'll receive a payout that you can put toward whatever you need, such as bills, groceries, or medical expenditures.