Disability insurance is a popular financial tool amongst the health care community. If you are a health care provider and do not yet have Disability insurance, you likely have been informed of it or have considered purchasing it already. Perhaps because of the hard work and extensive number of years it takes for a college graduate to become a practicing physician, protecting your medical specialty and future income is extremely important. Own Occupation Disability Income insurance is by far the best way to protect a Physician's income, family and future quality of life.
In recent years, some insurance companies have taken Disability Income insurance to a new level - not only providing protection for a young Physician's future income, but also against the debt accrued from student loans. According to the AAMC, over 85% of medical students graduate with outstanding student loan debt, for an average indebtedness of $156,000 in 2009. This can be a very stressful accumulation of debt. The hopeful situation is that a Resident or young Physician can qualify for Economic hardship deferment, which delays the repayment period and allows for the interest on subsidized loans to continue being paid for by the government. If not, Forbearance is always another alternative, although this can turn fairly expensive since interest accrues at the borrower's expense.
Although there are certain options for Economic hardship, unemployment, enrolled students, those in graduate fellowship, etc, the process for a Physician that has experienced a Disability can be much more difficult. The guidelines for a resident or physician to qualify for cancellation of a student loan will require a total disability that is expected to either continue indefinitely or end in death.
For those who are concerned with their loans and would prefer to prevent the burden from falling on someone else, there is a Student Loan Protection program available to Physicians, Dentists and Residents that can provide the additional protection needed to cover loan balances. Many Physicians, Dentists and Residents will purchase a Disability income policy in the later years of residency or early years of practice - the Student Loan Protection program is an inexpensive way of further protecting your quality of life.
Your Disability income policy will provide a monthly benefit if you are prevented from doing the primary duties of your medical specialty. The purpose of this is to assist you in maintaining a similar life style during the financial hardship caused by a debilitating injury or illness. The Student Loan Protection program can further enhance this coverage by preventing you from having to contribute 20-50% of your monthly Disability benefit toward student loans alone.
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