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Being a physician can be extremely difficult. Long hours, tough working conditions, and having to witness life-altering medical conditions and even death on a regular basis. It can take a serious toll on your mental and emotional state. Every once in a while this can cause even the strongest doctors to have a breakdown… or worse.

So what if you can’t work and earn your salary due to a condition that isn’t a physical disability?

In this episode, Billy discusses how to get disability coverage in such a case, the options that are available, and how to determine if this option is right for you.

Highlights from this episode include:

  • The secret to cutting through the confusion created by other agents and make sure you understand this benefit (1:33)
  • If you’re in one of these specialties, you should get this coverage immediately (3:34)
  • Insurance companies will use this to deny you psychiatric benefit coverage (4:54)
  • When you can’t get the psychiatric benefit, this should be your very next step to protect your livelihood (6:19)
  • The surprising truth about how long a psychiatric benefit is typically paid (7:32)

To ask questions on insurance coverage or to get a quote, please don’t hesitate to call us anytime at 704-270-2376, and I’d be glad to discuss your specific situation with you.

Read Full Transcript

Hi, I'm Billy Gwaltney and this is the CYA podcast. This show is for the physician who understands the importance of protecting everything you've worked so hard to achieve. Each week I'll bring you tips and advice to help you cut through the clutter and misinformation and show you exactly what you need to preserve your income and way of life. If you're ready to achieve the peace of mind that only financial security can bring. Let's get started.

Welcome to this episode of the cover your assets podcast. The title of today's program is how important is the psychiatric benefit? That's an excellent question. When it comes to a specialty occupation, disability coverage in working with physicians across the country, I have found that once our clients are clear about what this benefit is referring to, they're usually able to pretty quickly decide how important it is to them for their particular situation.

(00:57): Let me start by telling you what the psychiatric benefit is, not. It is not a limiting benefit on neurological disabilities. Things like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, dementia, stroke, those situations and conditions are covered under the full medical definition of disability and in this specialty disability marketplace. And I mention that because unfortunately a lot of folks in the insurance world refer to the psychiatric benefit as what's called a mental nervous benefit, which in my professional opinion is a very confusing term. And so when you see the mental nervous benefit reference, typically they're referring to a psychiatric benefit. And what that means is this is referring to psychiatric disabilities and that would be drug addiction, alcohol addiction, depression, anxiety, ADHD, add. Those conditions are what these policies are referring to when they have a limitation on the psychiatric benefit. And so the top companies typically will provide a benefit period for these disabilities of either two years, five years, or to age 65 or 67 or 70, however long your benefit period is.

(02:16): So for those that have the two year that that's obviously the shortest term. And depending on the company is saying, okay, if you get disabled because of anxiety or depression or or addiction or we're going to provide a benefit for a maximum of two years. One company says two years per occurrence, so you could be disabled for anxiety or depression for two years, come back to work and then five years later be disabled again and get and receive benefits for two years. Again, the other company or the other companies that do this have a two year limitation or two years over the life of the policy. One of the other top companies has a five year limitation on the benefit period for psychiatric disabilities, which is better than two years obviously. And then there are a couple of companies that will offer a benefit period to age 65 or 67 or 70 whatever benefit period you've picked.

(03:09): They'll do, they'll offer a psychiatric benefit to that. Now, there are exceptions to this. What determines the length of this psychiatric benefit is the one thing that determines it is your specialty as of the timing of this podcast. Anesthesiology, emergency medicine and pain medicine. Have a pretty much across the board limit of two years for the psychiatric disability period of the top companies. If you're talking to a company that offers you a longer benefit period for psychiatric disability, then you're likely, again, as all the time of this podcast, look at the date of this podcast, then you are cutting corners on something else related to the definitions of the policy because the top companies limit that to two years and be careful what you're getting in that scenario. But other than other specialties, it depends again on the company. Two years, five years or 265, 67 or 70.

(04:06): Typically the ones offering a benefit period of 65, 67 or 70, they cost more. And in some cases they cost dramatically more. It could be 50% more, 30% more. I've seen 70% more. It just depends on the situation. And that's oftentimes why the question comes up about, Hey, how important is the psychiatric benefit? There's a catch to the psychiatric benefit besides the occupation or the specialty. And that is the medical underwriting. If someone has been treated for pretty much any kind of psychiatric condition, whether it be anxiety, depression, if they're taking, if you're taking medications for ADHD or add or anxiety, even if, if it's prescribed by your primary care physician, there's a very high likelihood in those situations that the psychiatric benefit is going to be excluded from your policy at least initially. Now over the course of time as things stabilize or if you get into a period where you've not needed any further treatment or hadn't needed to take medication, then the psychiatric benefit exclusion can be revisited and potentially removed and psychiatric disabilities would be covered from that point forward.

(05:25): That's why it is important if you are offered a policy, if you go through the process and let's say that I'm applying for a policy and I'm healthy, except I'm, I take medication for ADHD and my primary care or my, I don't know, psychiatrist, whoever it is prescribes it, then I'm approved for a policy. With the exception of having a psychiatric exclusion, I'm covered for everything else except for that is highly advisable to consider locking in that policy. And taking advantage of your for every other illness or injury being covered as applied and also securing the training discounts. Assuming you're in training when you're purchasing this and if you're attending when you're purchasing this, assuming you're able to access any discounts, which we can certainly help attending clients do. It's wise to lock in that policy and then kind of live to fight another day and by that I mean put the policy in place, be covered for everything else which is wise to do economically and then down the road revisit if and when things stabilize or you come off the medication and you want to have that benefit added back then, then that's doable.

(06:37): In most cases. We've just seen situations where that has worked to people's advantage because other things may have crept up. Maybe they've had a knee surgery in the meantime or they've had their back treated or something and that would be an additional hurdle they would have to jump through in the medical underwriting had they waited to get coverage until they hope the psychiatric condition had gotten better in the future is best to consider locking in coverage even if it has that exclusion on there. And then revisit having that exclusion removed because the other situations in your medical history are no longer on the table. I hope that makes sense. That's a lot to say. Again, I also want to mention before I forget that my partners and I, we work with thousands of physicians across the country. Even if we've not seen many, if any claims for psychiatric disabilities go beyond two years, we just don't see it very much.

(07:36): And again, we've worked with physicians, most of our clients are driven. They're not looking for a way out necessarily. If they are predisposed to that way of thinking, a lot of times they would have already sought treatment and are going to be excluded in any way. Maybe that's part of it, but we've just not seen that be something that I feel the urgency to make sure every client gets the longest psychiatric benefit they can they can afford because we've just not seen it play out that way. And again, that could certainly be anecdotal, doesn't mean it can't happen. These kinds of disabilities could obviously go longer than that. And so it was wise for you to consider based on your particular situation how important that is. And I hope this information has been helpful. It is a personal decision and I would certainly welcome the opportunity to discuss it with you further. Please feel free to text me anytime to arrange a conversation, ask questions. My number is (704) 270-2376 again that (704) 270-2376 I'd be happy and honored to discuss your situation and I look forward to catching up with you soon. Until next time, this is Billy Gwaltney. Thank you. As always, for carving out a few. I look forward to talking with you. take care.

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