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Best Disability Insurance for Gastroenterologists: How to Choose a Policy

Key Takeaways:

  • Gastroenterologists can protect their high income with disability insurance. 
  • Own-occupation disability coverage provides the best coverage for gastroenterologists. 
  • This profession might be considered lower risk by insurers, meaning lower premiums.

Committing to a career as a gastroenterologist requires many years of education. Aside from completing medical school, you’ve likely spent up to six years of specialized training to become an expert on the GI tract. You’ve learned how to formulate diagnoses, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, cancer, and more, in addition to developing the skill to perform an upper endoscopy and colonoscopy. With all of this training for a unique and in-demand medical specialty, you can command a high salary. 

According to the Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2022, gastroenterologists earn an average of $453,000 per year. Given that some procedures might require a high amount of precision, it’s a good idea to protect your future income in the event of disability. 

SLP Insurance and its partner agents offer true own-occupation disability insurance for gastroenterologists. If we can’t find the best policy for you, we’ll happily refer you elsewhere if it means you’ll get the coverage you need — even if we don’t make a cent from it. 

Below we cover all of the info you need to know. If you’d like to get a head start, fill out the form below for a quote.

Gastroenterologist disability insurance premium cost

What you pay for disability insurance as a gastroenterologist depends on a number of factors. For starters, factors that affect your premium include:

  • Age
  • Health condition
  • The state you live in 
  • Medical history
  • Smoking status 
  • Other factors 

A helpful benchmark is that you should expect to pay between 2% to 4% for a long-term disability plan. Below are some potential gastroenterologist quotes for residents and fellows from our partners.

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

CompanyMaleFemale
Guardian$182$265
MassMutual$147$229
Principal$143$246
Ameritas$151$232
Standard$145$228
*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

This is based on the top five carriers and shows rates for true own-occupation coverage. As you can see rates range from $143 to $265, based on age, gender, and carrier. This is assuming residents and fellows are protecting $5,000 worth of income. 

Given the future increase benefit, this could add on $15,000 worth of income later for a total of $20,000. The more income you protect, the higher your premium. 

You can also see catastrophic disability benefits plus residual benefits, which can cover some payments for partial disability. Be aware that some insurance providers have limits on the benefit period if the reason for your disability is related to mental health or nervous conditions. 

The good news is that gastroenterologists tend to be at lower risk compared to other physicians and specialties. In other words, you might have a lower probability of filing a claim which can lead to more affordable premiums. There are also potential discounts that may be available. 

Why do gastroenterologists buy disability insurance?

Disability insurance for gastroenterologists is a way to protect against a loss of income due to unforeseen disability, such as chronic illness, disease or injury. Performing procedures like a colonoscopy or upper endoscopy require using your hands deftly to manage equipment with a high level of focus.

Having a strong level of dexterity is important. However, facing injuries could affect your ability to perform such procedures and in turn, affect your income. A Gastroenterology & Hepatology article, “Ergonomics in Endoscopy”, found that 37% to 89% of survey respondents reported having some level of injury from endoscopy. 

This potential for injury could turn more serious and lead to long-term disability. Although it might be difficult to imagine this happening to you, it’s best not to be caught in this situation unprotected. Take proactive steps now by getting a proper disability insurance policy. This way, you can ensure your most valuable asset, your ability to earn income, is protected no matter what happens. 

Through disability insurance coverage, you can get a monthly benefit for a predetermined period. This can range from a few years and even through retirement age. 

SLP Insurance can help you get the protection you need. Just fill out the form below, and we'll connect with you about your own-occupation disability options. Keep reading to learn more about gastroenterologist disability insurance costs and riders you'll need to buy.

Own-Occupation Disability Insurance Quote Form

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What should gastroenterologist disability insurance cover?

When looking into disability insurance for gastroenterologists, choose a policy and the timeframe in which you want coverage. Some specific features to look out for include: 

  • Own-occupation coverage. An absolute must is finding own-occupation coverage because it protects you in the event that you can no longer work in your own profession — even if you can work in another job. Without this type of policy, you’ll likely miss out on disability benefits if you can perform other types of work that pay a lower wage.  
  • Future increase rider. The main point of disability insurance is to protect yourself from an income standpoint. But what you earn today likely won’t be what you’ll earn later. Getting the future increase rider allows you to purchase more coverage, even if health issues arise in the meantime. 
  • Catastrophic disability rider. If a catastrophic event that leads to total disability occurs — impeding your ability to care for yourself and perform basic tasks, such as eating or showering — you might need even more help than you thought. This rider option offers additional financial assistance so you can hire support if needed. 
  • Cost of living adjustment rider. Inflation is a hot topic right now. If you want to protect future benefits from the effects of inflation, consider the cost of living adjustment (COLA) rider. This boosts your benefit amount by a specific percentage each year, based on inflation. 

It’s key for high-income earners like gastroenterologists to protect their earning ability. This means getting the proper coverage and optional riders as needed. Your policy should cover all of your total fixed expenses, so you’re not in a financial bind. These expenses can include your mortgage payment, student loans, utilities, car payment, childcare, food and more. 

How often do gastroenterologists file disability insurance claims? 

Based on disability claim data, gastroenterologists might have some additional risk factors, but the profession is generally considered low-risk compared to other specialties. Being a low-risk profession for insurance providers might result in lower premiums, so you can lock in savings and income protection in one go.

What kind of disability insurance coverage is offered to gastroenterologists?

Gastroenterologists can find disability insurance coverage through numerous places and should compare options for the best fit and rates. Below are examples of where you can find disability insurance for gastroenterologists.

Group coverage from your employer 

If you work for an employer that offers disability coverage, review how much coverage you actually get. For example, you might get short-term coverage but not long-term coverage. 

Perhaps you get long-term coverage which pays out $5,000 in benefits, but you really need $15,000 in benefits. See what’s available through any group plans and how much it covers. Also, disability benefits are taxable if they come from your employer. 

Professional association 

You can also look for coverage through professional associations. For example, you might be eligible for coverage through the American Medical Association. It appears the American Gastroenterological Association doesn’t offer disability insurance, but you can ask. 

However, you may be eligible for discounts on disability insurance for gastroenterologists via the American College of Gastroenterology. 

Individually purchased gastroenterologist disability policy 

It’s possible to get your own individual disability insurance coverage as well through a broker. There are typically six main carriers, and you’ll want to secure true own-occupation coverage. An insurance agent can work with you to discuss your needs, risk factors and options. 

Guaranteed Standard Issue (GSI) gastroenterologist policies 

This option may be lesser known as it’s only available to residents and fellows, typically. Brokers might also not receive a commission for selling this option. But Guaranteed Standard Issue or GSI, as the name suggests, guarantees coverage for you. 

Unfortunately, this option isn’t available for attending gastroenterologists. A major benefit of GSI policies is that they don’t have a medical underwriting component. If you have any pre-existing issues, A GSI can be a winning option. 

Some places that offer GSI policies include Albany Medical, NYU Health System, and Ohio State University. You might be eligible for discounts as well, and SLP insurance is committed to finding you the best policy fit.

How much disability insurance do gastroenterologists need?

As a gastroenterologist earning an average of $453,000, you might be eligible for up to 60% of your income as part of your disability insurance coverage. That means you’d receive a maximum benefit of $22,650 per month. 

If you have a subspecialty, such as focusing on the liver, IBS, or pediatrics, you might make a higher salary, and therefore, need more coverage.

Gastroenterologist disability payout amount

One important point to know about disability coverage is that it’s not a 1:1 replacement. As noted above, you can get up to 60% of your income covered through disability benefits. The bonus you get by purchasing your own policy with after-tax dollars is that, in many cases, the payout is tax-free. 

The amount of coverage you purchase should cover all of your “needs” or expenses that must be covered. Get the amount of coverage that will help you sleep best at night and one that’s based on your current financial and familial situation. For example, if you're the sole income earner, consider that in your coverage amount. 

Why you need to review your gastroenterologist disability insurance policy

Disability insurance for gastroenterologists makes sense, given the income level and risk with the profession. Before signing up for a policy, here are some key things to look out for:

  • Own-occupation language. Disability insurance companies may have different definitions of disability. Make sure you understand that definition and that you have true own-occupation language in your policy.
  • Short- vs. long-term disability coverage. Are you getting short-term or long-term disability coverage and what is the benefit period?
  • Waiting period. Policies typically have a waiting period, also called an elimination period. This is the timeframe before you can obtain disability benefits. How long is this waiting period? 
  • Pre-existing illness or condition. If you have any medical or health issues prior to applying for a disability insurance policy, talk to an expert who can help. 
  • Understand how much you’re paying. It’s smart to compare rates across multiple carriers to find the best rate, so you’re not paying too much money for your policy. 
  • Don’t risk being unprotected. If you have an employer, you might be eligible for some group coverage. However, the amount you may get may not cover all of your expenses, leaving you undercovered and at risk. A private disability insurance policy can get you coverage on your terms. 

Get a disability insurance quote for gastroenterologists 

Gastroenterology is a unique medical specialty, and gastroenterologists are some of the highest-paid physicians on the market. As part of a financial plan that covers all your bases, you can get disability insurance your way, with a plan that fits your needs. 

SLP insurance, along with our partner agents, ensures you get the right policy for your needs whether we get a commission or not. Fill out the form below to get a customized quote and see if you qualify for any discounts.

Own-Occupation Disability Insurance Quote Form

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