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Cardiologist Disability Insurance: Higher Risk Requires More Protection

Key Takeaways:

  • Disability insurance for cardiologists protects against loss of income due to injury or illness, providing you with a monthly benefit for the duration of your benefit period.
  • Physicians who practice invasive or interventional cardiology fall into the highest risk classification for disability claims, and therefore, pay higher premiums. However, non-invasive cardiologists can qualify for lower cost disability insurance
  • Discounted pricing for cardiologists might be available through a Guaranteed Standard Issue policy, your employer or via SLP Insurance.

As a cardiologist, you’re one of the highest-paid physicians, with an average salary ranging from $350,000 to $490,000. But your high income comes with a price, often resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical school debt and countless sacrifices made over more than a decade of training and education.

You can protect your investment from the possibility of a long-term disability by ensuring you have adequate cardiologist disability insurance that’s specific to your medical specialty. 

Let’s look at the different types of disability insurance available to cardiologists, including how to find true own-occupation coverage at an affordable rate.

Cardiologist disability insurance premium cost

The cost of disability insurance for cardiologists will vary depending on a number of factors, including your age, gender, medical history, profession, smoking status and where you live.

Generally, you can expect to pay between 2% to 4% of your income for adequate long-term disability insurance coverage.

To give you a better idea of premiums for cardiologists, here is a sample quote comparing costs for female versus male physicians in a non-invasive cardiology residency or fellowship.

Cardiologist own-occupation disability insurance monthly cost
(Age 34, resident/fellow)

*NOTE: True own occupation definition, $5,000 base monthly benefit, $15,000 future increase benefit, Residual / recovery and mental / nervous coverage added. 3% inflation rider. 90 day elimination period. Includes 10%-30% discounts available through SLP Insurance LLC

In this example, a male cardiology resident or fellow could purchase a policy with a monthly benefit of $5,000 and coverage through retirement age for about $150 to $180 per month. However, it could cost a female cardiology resident or fellow anywhere from $230 to $290 per month for the same coverage.

Keep in mind that invasive or interventional cardiologists can expect a higher monthly premium than non-invasive physicians due to their higher risk classification.

Why do cardiologists need disability insurance?

There are 22,514 active physicians in the United States who specialize in cardiovascular disease — all of whom should be covered by true own-occupation cardiologist disability insurance.

Disability insurance for cardiologists covers a portion of your income for a predetermined period of time with a qualifying disability. This can range from coverage for a couple of years all the way up to traditional retirement age.

If you’re young and healthy now, that doesn’t mean your health won’t change over time or that you won’t experience a long-term injury that impacts your career. In fact, the Social Security Administration estimates that one out of every four 20-year-olds will be disabled before reaching retirement.

Considering you work in the medical field, there's a higher risk of an injury or illness affecting your ability to work. Even more so for invasive or interventional cardiologists who rely on the steadiness of their hands to perform procedures.

If you’re sidelined from your specialty, even for just a year or two, due to a recoverable injury, your inability to work as a cardiologist can wreak havoc on your finances. However, disability insurance for cardiologists can allow you to maintain your existing lifestyle while you recover or adjust to a new way of life.

SLP Insurance can help you find customized cardiologist disability insurance for your needs. Keep reading to learn more about expected costs and policy riders for disability insurance for cardiologists. Fill out the form below to connect with your top own-occupation disability options.

Own-Occupation Disability Insurance Quote Form

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What should cardiologist disability insurance cover?

When shopping around for disability insurance for cardiologists, it’s important to choose a policy that’s tailored to your specialty and your overall needs.

Here are some coverage options and policy riders that cardiologists should consider:

  • Own-occupation definition. An own-occupation policy will provide a monthly payout if you’re unable to perform the specific duties of your cardiology specialty, even if you’re able to find work in a different field. This provides the most comprehensive coverage for cardiologists.
  • Future increase option. As a medical resident or fellow, your income is much lower compared to your future earnings. This optional rider allows you to purchase more coverage later down the road without additional medical underwriting.
  • Partial disability or residual benefits. This optional rider provides a disability benefit if an injury or illness limits your ability to work but doesn’t qualify as a total disability.

If you already have group coverage through your employer, you should comb through your policy definitions and limits. Due to your high income (and the expensive lifestyle that usually accompanies being a cardiologist), your group disability insurance benefits might not match your monthly expenses. In this case, an individual disability policy can help bridge the gap and ensure you have adequate coverage.

At minimum, you need a disability policy that covers your large fixed expenses, including but not limited to your mortgage, car and student loan payments.

How often do cardiologists file disability insurance claims?

Disability insurance companies look at historical data to determine your overall risk of filing a disability claim. They then determine your premiums based on this information.

Because the field of cardiology includes many nuances, insurance companies will rate your profession’s risk by subspecialty.

For example, general cardiologists are considered low-risk, while interventional cardiologists are classified as high-risk. This generally results in lower premium costs for generalists versus high premiums for cardiologists who perform invasive procedures and, therefore, rely on exact precision and dexterity.

Simply put, if your specialty relies on your hands, you’ll likely pay higher costs because even a minor injury could impact your ability to perform procedures and overall effectiveness as a cardiologist.

Related: How to Buy Disability Insurance as a Pediatric Cardiologist

Main types of disability insurance available to cardiologists

Cardiologist disability insurance coverage can be found through several primary places, including your employer, a professional association, an independent broker or your residency program itself.

Employer group coverage for cardiologists

Depending on whether you work for a hospital or are in private practice, your employer might offer some level of group disability coverage. The upside is that this coverage is often provided as part of your employee benefit package. However, there are usually weak definitions of disability and a maximum monthly benefit that can fall short of what you actually need.

Additionally, if your employer is covering the cost of your disability premiums, any benefits you receive are taxable income.

Therefore, cardiologists should consider supplementing their group coverage with an individual disability insurance policy.

Group coverage with a professional association

You might be able to find member discounts for group disability insurance through a professional association. For example, the American Medical Association offers disability coverage up to $15,000 a month with options for “own-specialty” and “true own-specialty” definitions.

Individual cardiologist disability insurance policy

An individually purchased disability policy provides the most customization for your needs. You’ll work with an independent broker who searches the top insurance carriers that are responsible for the majority of true own-occupation disability insurance. They can then tailor your policy to balance your financial needs and risk tolerance.

Guaranteed Standard Issue (GSI) policies

Medical residents and fellows can tap into GSI policies made available only through a residency or fellowship program. These policies offer guaranteed coverage and unisex pricing. Therefore, a GSI policy is a great option for physicians with pre-existing conditions who might have a difficult time finding coverage elsewhere, as well as female physicians who might be subject to inflated premiums (roughly 35% higher).

Residency programs with George Washington University, Stony Brook University, John Hopkins and many more offer GSI policies. However, some insurance brokers won’t mention a GSI policy as an option because they might not receive a commission in the process.

This is one of the many ways that SLP Insurance is different. You can trust that our partner agents will guide you to the most beneficial policy, whether that be a GSI policy that doesn’t require medical underwriting or an individual policy with additional discounts.

How much disability insurance do cardiologists need?

Typically, disability insurance for cardiologists can cover up to 60% of your income. But depending on the insurance carrier and your existing disability policy, you might have options ranging from 50% to 70%.

Let’s say your cardiologist income is $400,000. With a 60% benchmark, you could receive a maximum monthly benefit of $20,000 with an individual policy.

That’s considerably higher than many employer group benefits. Additionally, your disability payout will be tax-free because you’ll be paying for your premiums with after-tax dollars.

Cardiologist disability benefit amount

Although the maximum benefit is ideal, there are some other considerations when choosing your benefit coverage.

At minimum, your benefit payout needs to cover your monthly expenses, such as housing, utilities, food, childcare, car payments and an extra cushion for miscellaneous expenses. Ideally, you want enough coverage to keep your family comfortable, enjoying a similar lifestyle while you can’t work.

Depending on your spending habits, you might not need the maximum benefit. But if you’re a single-income household, you might consider buying a higher amount of disability coverage since you won’t be able to rely on your partner’s income.

Why you should review your cardiologist disability insurance policy

Disability insurance tends to be a complex financial product. Whether you’re shopping around or already have an existing policy in place, make sure you understand the following:

  • Do you have a true own-occupation definition of disability? Language differs by insurance company, and many have narrow definitions of disability. You need to know that you’ll be covered if you can’t perform the duties of your cardiology specialty.
  • What are the terms for pre-existing conditions? If you apply for disability insurance with a broker who is only interested in a commission, they could disqualify you from GSI policies that would better serve you due to an existing health concern.
  • Are you adequately covered? Group disability coverage through an employer or professional association often isn’t enough due to weaker definitions and benefit caps. An individual policy can provide additional coverage that will follow you throughout your career.
  • How much are your premiums? Depending on your insurance agent, you might be paying more than you need due to limited commission-driven policy options.

Disability insurance policy language and costs can vary greatly. Therefore, it’s best to compare rates and coverage across multiple insurance carriers to find the right fit.

Get a disability insurance quote for cardiologists

Cardiologists are some of the highest-paid physicians, and many are supporting families while saving lives. Therefore, disability insurance with own-occupation coverage should be part of your overall financial plan.

SLP Insurance and its partner agents offer customized quotes and search for any discounts that might apply to your situation. If another broker can give you a better deal, we’ll refer you out to ensure you’re getting the best coverage at the most affordable rate. Fill out the form below, and our team will reach out with the next steps.

Own-Occupation Disability Insurance Quote Form

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