- Critical care physicians should buy own-occupation disability insurance, ideally in training or soon thereafter for the largest discounts
- Critical care physicians are in the middle of the pack for risk of claims among physician specialties
- Getting true-own occupation coverage with specific riders provides the best income protection against long-term disability
As a critical care physician, you play a vital role in helping patients who are experiencing potential life-threatening trauma or other illnesses. There’s a significant amount of education and training necessary to perform this job and do it well.
In exchange for investing thousands of dollars toward medical school and rigorous training, critical care physicians are often rewarded with a multiple six-figure salary.
According to the Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2022, critical care physicians average annual salary was $369,000. This is a valuable asset to have during economic volatility, but also essential to protect through a disability insurance policy.
Critical care physicians disability insurance premium cost
You might be concerned about the cost of disability insurance, but it can be a small investment for what you get in return. In fact, the cost is generally around 2% to 4% of your income.
The factors that determine your overall premium are based on medical history and conditions, age, location, smoking history, and more.
Critical Care Physician 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
The chart above from SLP Insurance shows what prospective rates might look like for critical care residents and fellows in their mid 30s. Rates in this case range from $143 up to $297 per month. Variations depend on gender, age, state where you live, residency program where you trained, and your insurance carrier.
Getting physician disability insurance is a good move for critical care physicians as Critical Care falls in the middle of the pack for claims among all physician specialties.
SLP Insurance has discounts up to 30% for true-own occupation coverage. Submit the quote form below and one of our experts will reach out. We’ll send you elsewhere if we know of a better discount.
What insurance coverage do you want a quote for? (check all that apply)
What is Your Occupation Status Currently?
Program Sponsor / Institution
Program End Date
Did you finish training or school in the last 6 months?
Are you covered by group disability insurance through your employer?
Do you have an existing individual disability insurance policy?
Have you had any recent surgery or hospitalizations?
Do you take any medication?
Do you have any medical conditions?
Are you a smoker?
Date of Birth
State of residency
Communication preference with SLP Insurance
Any additional questions or comments?
Why do critical care physicians buy disability insurance?
Critical care physician disability insurance is an important form of coverage to protect you against the unexpected. It can be overwhelming and uneasy to think about becoming disabled, but it might be more likely than you think.
In fact, about 25% of 20-year-olds will experience a disability before they hit retirement, according to data from the Council for Disability Awareness.
There are short-term disability insurance coverage or long-term disability insurance options available on the market. Getting the latter, however, provides the most benefits for critical care physicians.
When you apply for disability coverage, there’s typically an elimination period and a benefit period. The elimination period, also called the waiting period, refers to the amount of time until your benefits kick in. This could last as long as one month, a few months, or more, depending on the policy you select. The benefit period refers to how long you can receive benefits, generally ranging from a couple of years to retirement age.
Given the possibility of getting coverage until retirement, disability insurance is useful for financial planning and is a proactive safeguard against any incidents.
What should critical care physicians disability insurance cover?
Critical care physicians wanting to protect their income against the unknown and unexpected should get a long-term disability insurance plan.
One of the key things to look out for is true-own occupation coverage. It protects you when you can no longer perform your job. If you get a different option, such as an any-occupation policy, you might not be eligible for disability benefits if you can still perform tasks for a different job. To round out your level of protection, there are optional riders to consider as well.
- Residual disability rider benefits. Through this rider, if you experience a partial disability, you’ll still be eligible for a partial benefit.
- Catastrophic disability. This rider provides financial assistance that helps pay for a caregiver if you can no longer perform certain tasks, such as eating or dressing yourself.
- Future increase rider. Getting this rider allows you to opt for additional coverage amounts later on. The biggest advantage is that you can increase your coverage even if you’ve experienced health changes.
- Cost of living adjustment (COLA) rider. This option can help ensure your benefits adjust over time with inflation and might go up a certain percentage.
Aside from getting a long-term policy and the right riders for your situation, ensure that you get a coverage amount that meets your financial needs.
How often do critical care physicians file disability insurance claims?
Disability insurance is a smart back-up plan for whatever life throws at you, in general. However, it’s even more important for critical care physicians. Based on disability claim data, critical care physicians’ risk of filing a disability claim is moderate, compared to other physicians.
While critical care physicians don’t have the highest risk of filing a disability claim, they’re not in the lowest-risk bracket either. For example, their risk of filing a claim isn’t as high as OB/GYNs, but it’s more likely than an optometrist.
A moderate risk of filing a disability claim can mean higher premiums. But it also means you have more to protect.
What kind of disability insurance coverage is offered to critical care physicians?
There are various places you can get disability insurance coverage. Each option should be weighed carefully to ensure you get a policy that fits your financial needs and lifestyle.
Group coverage from your employer
You might be able to get physician disability insurance from a group plan offered by your employer. If they offer one, see if it’s a short- or long-term policy, and assess its coverage amount.
You might be protected up to a certain amount, but it might not be sufficient to cover all your basic expenses. Also, note that any employer coverage is considered taxable.
A professional association
It’s possible to get physician disability insurance from the American Medical Association (AMA). You can also see if it’s available through a professional association you may be a part of. The Society of Critical Care Medicine doesn’t seem to offer a policy, but might be able to offer resources.
Individual policy for critical care physicians
If you can’t get coverage through work or a professional association, don’t fret. Individual disability insurance policies are available through independent brokers. These brokers tend to write the most true-own occupation coverage policies.
Working with an insurance agent can help you with any questions and find the benefit amount you need, based on risk and your financial situation.
Guaranteed Standard Issue (GSI) policies for critical care physicians
Guaranteed Standard Issue policies tend to fly under the radar, because they’re offered to residents and fellows only. Based on its name, this offers guaranteed coverage.
These policies can come with discounts and have a major perk compared to other policies — you can lock in a policy without answering medical questions or undergoing medical exams. This can be a huge advantage for those with pre-existing conditions.
GSI policies are available through numerous hospitals and schools including Johns Hopkins, University of Virginia, NYU Medical Center and more.
How much disability insurance do critical care physicians need?
Critical care physicians earn an average salary of $369,000, according to the Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2022. Disability insurance doesn’t provide a match or full replacement of your income, but typically offers up to 60% of your income for a long-term policy. Based on the average salary above, the total maximum benefit you might receive is $18,450 per month.
If your earnings are higher, a higher coverage amount might be in order. This is especially true if you have a family that relies on your income, or you’re the household breadwinner or sole source of income. Below is what you need to think through when researching coverage amounts.
Critical care physicians disability payout amount
Expect to get a maximum benefit of around $18,000, if you have close to the average income for a critical care physician. When seeking a policy coverage amount, consider the following:
- What are your housing expenses?
- What are your current food, utility, and insurance costs?
- How much are you paying for child care?
- What are your current debt obligations?
The benefit amount should support your existing fixed expenses. The last thing you need while facing disability is having to sell your home or car out of financial need.
Getting your own policy can also be a smart move, because when you pay with after-tax dollars, your disability insurance benefits are considered tax-free.
Why you need to review your critical care physicians disability insurance policy
Here’s a checklist of things to lookout for before signing on the dotted line for disability coverage.
- Get true-own occupation coverage and review the carrier’s definition of disability.
- Work with a trusted broker if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
- Shop around as some insurance brokers might only push one product that earns them a commission. Make sure you’re not paying more than is necessary.
- Review coverage amounts if you’re relying on an employer group policy or individual policy. All of your expenses should be easily covered, so you don’t leave yourself vulnerable.
Get a disability insurance quote for critical care physicians
You work hard to save lives every day as a critical care physician. Protect your investment and lifestyle through disability insurance.
SLP Insurance and our partners create a custom quote for a bespoke policy that meets your coverage goals. If we can’t find you the best option, we’ll refer you elsewhere. Fill out the form and we’ll reach out, shortly.