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Getting your own specialty disability coverage is one of the best decisions you can make for your financial future. But should you try to do it by yourself? If you’ve ever looked into disability insurance, you probably know that policies are filled with confusing language and definitions. And to top it all off, companies use thier own special names that don’t always make sense.

And then there’s the medical and financial underwriting process that can be tough to do on your own.

In this episode, Billy goes over the most important things to be aware of when purchasing disability coverage, and why having a specialist guide you through the process can make it much faster and easier than you ever thought possible.

Highlights from this episode include:

  • Get these policy details wrong, and the insurance companies will just take your money while you struggle to support your family (:58)
  • How to breeze through underwriting, saving you tons of time, while still getting the disability coverage you need (3:05)
  • Why your medical history is not necessarily a deal-breaker and how to get the coverage that could prevent a financial catastrophe (4:30)
  • The horrifying scenario that can result in you being approved for a policy, but not being paid benefits when you need them most (5:13)

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 episode number nine, the title of today's program is what is the process for obtaining specialty disability coverage? And that's an excellent question. One that I get asked quite a bit. The first step is for any physician looking to get your own private coverage is identifying the right coverage and the best coverage for your situation. That involves a few things, a eyes you want to dot and T's you on across.

00:52 The first thing is making sure that the true specialty, own occupation definition of disability is present. And as discussed in previous podcasts, that means two things. One is you're disabled if you cannot perform your specialty. And two, there is no penalty for any income. You later earn in a different occupation. You would also want to make sure that the long term residual benefit, partial disability benefits are present. Long Term recovery benefit is present, the comprehensive presumptive benefit is included as well as the future insurability option and then you get into more personal decisions regarding whether or not you want the cost of living adjustment rider. If you would like to have a student loan repayment writer, perhaps a catastrophic benefit which usually is not the case but just if it is, that would be a detail you would want to clarify. You can do this through your own research of course, online talking to colleagues, listening to a podcast like this, contacting a broker, a preferably a specialist if you want to make sure that you're getting the expert feedback that you want and makes sure that the quotes you're getting are specific to your situation, that they include the maximum discounts.

02:06 You can ask what those specific discounts are. Each company has their own discount program for residents and fellows. Some offer them for attendings as well, but definitely for residents and fellows. You would ideally and, and it would be advisable to consider having a one on one conversation with a broker. Again, preferably a specialist, just to be sure that you, you know, what you think, you know, it's one thing to, I've certainly had people kind of is they asked me questions about particular terms, kind of give me their thoughts on what they thought it was initially and they're, they're completely wrong. It's just the words can be deceiving as far as what the definition actually entails and so you would just want to make sure that those things are confirmed for you. And then once you kind of have narrowed down and decide which option you prefer, you'd want to proceed.

02:56 Then to streamline medical underwriting. Again, the top companies do offer this streamlined approach where they waive the actual physical parts. So you don't have to do the, the, your analysis of the blood profile, anything like that. Usually financial underwriting is not needed for residents and fellows. Again, you would want to confirm that just to be sure, but as mentioned, if you're working with one of the top few companies, then that would be the case. Usually the process for enrollment, the application processes electronic can be done through secure, you know DocuSign links and E applications similar to how you might assign a a mortgage application and those kinds of things. Usually the medical underwriting can take anywhere from two to eight weeks or even 12 weeks possibly. It really depends on the situation. If medical records are necessary, if any followup questions are needing answered and how responsive you are as the client or the policyholder are.

03:55 Two additional questions that are needed. A specialist is more likely to keep you posted on any of the time lags and perhaps see them coming ahead of time based on any medical situations that you might describe and ask for feedback. You can certainly ask for that feedback informally with your broker upfront and kind of say, Hey, I've had this situation in the past, how would that impact things? I do want to add a note that in that scenario is wise not to assume that you can't get coverage. We've been able to get people covered with significant medical histories and again, it just depends on the situation. It depends on the company you're in, you're dealing with the specific insurance carrier, the underwriter and how the picture can be painted as to whether or not there's a solid opportunity to get coverage. But again, a specialist is more likely to know the lay of the land and how to navigate those kinds of questions.

04:46 And then you know, once approval is confirmed, you would review the policy again, that's it to you electronically. You can do that ahead of time before you pay the premium or simultaneously with paying it, it is advisable to pay the premium as soon as you can, once you're approved. So the coverage actually becomes effective. We actually had a situation where a new client not too long ago was approved wanting to review the policy and was going to take a week or so to do that. And of course it fell off his radar and he lives down in Florida and believe it or not, he got struck by lightning during a serious thunderstorm and he brought that up when he, you know, that kind of triggered him to revisit or follow through on his insurance and wanted to get that taken care of. And he said, Hey, you know, this situation happened and it was very wise of him to inform us of that because that is something that the underwriter wanted to know and they started the underwriting process over completely.

05:44 And so he had a policy approved, had been through all the hard work to get there and I say hard work. It wasn't all that labor intensive on his part, but he had, all he had to do was pay the premium and he wanted to wait and review, which is certainly his prerogative, but there's a risk to do that. You just need to know that you're assuming the risk, the risk has not been transferred to the insurance carrier for your financial future until that initial premium is paid. So what I do if, if it's me personally, when I buy my own insurance, I pay as soon as possible. And then if I want to revise anything after that, I can, this is not a mortgage where once you pay the initial premium, you're locked in for 30 years, no questions, no changes. You can modify it at any time, but it's always best to modify it while you're covered so that if on the way to reviewing it at the coffee shop and modify, you're in a car accident that you're actually going to get paid.

06:37 And so those are details that again, doing this all day, every day, I've seen just countless situations where corks happen. The unexpected happens and again, who thinks about getting hit by lightning, but it happens. And so we eventually did get him approved, but he was a little nervous that that might not happen because of this freak incident. And so just or to the wise as you explore your options and so again, you would want to confirm the premium payment, the timing of that and the details of that, that it matches what you thought you were going to pay. Then you electronically signed for the policy and again, the policies delivered electronically. If you're working with a specialist like me and my phone, then you'll be connected with us throughout the life of the policy throughout your career, wherever you go, anywhere in the country or the world for that matter, for address changes, for coverage increases or decreases at time of claim.

07:35 Where is involved as our clients want us to be and the vast majority of our clients want us very involved. They lean on us for everything. You can always deal directly with an insurance company. That's certainly your prerogative. But again, the point in having a broker that knows what they're doing is that they know what they're doing and they can help navigate through adjustments or situations that you need help with. So again, get this done correct up front and you'll never have to redo it or go through this process again. It can take several weeks, but again, your involvement if you do it right is very short on the front end and all electronic. As mentioned a number of times if your plan a doesn't work out, you want to make sure that your plan B is the best that it can possibly be and that's what we help people do and that's what if you do this correctly. Then once you get your plan B in place, it'll be once forever and you can feel good about it going forward. That's it for today. Please feel free to text me anytime to arrange a conversation or ask specific questions regarding your situation. My number is (704) 270-2376 and again that's (704) 270-2376 I'd be happy to discuss your situation any time. Until next time. This is Billy Gwaltney. Thank you. As always for carving out a few minutes. I'm grateful for that. Take care.

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