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MassMutual Disability Insurance Review: Is It a Good Choice for Physicians?

Key Takeaways:

  • For this MassMutual disability insurance review, we focus on its Radius Choice product available for physicians and high-income earners.
  • Physicians can opt for a true own-occupation rider that allows the collection of benefits while working in another occupation.
  • MassMutual has paid dividends to participating policyholders every year since 1869.

Own-occupation disability insurance is specialty-specific, meaning you can receive disability income if you’re unable to perform the substantial duties of your medical or dental specialty due to a disabling injury or medical condition. But if you also want the option to work in another occupation while collecting benefits, you’ll need a “true” own-occupation definition of disability — which can be found with MassMutual Insurance Company or another one of the “Big 5” insurance carriers. 

Since you have a variety of income protection options, let’s review what MassMutual disability insurance has to offer.

MassMutual disability insurance review: Coverage details

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) was founded in 1851, making it one of the longest-standing insurers in the country. It’s a mutually owned company, meaning MassMutual doesn’t have shareholders. Instead, policyholders and members are able to vote for its board of directors. Additionally, eligible policy owners receive dividends, although they aren’t guaranteed.

MassMutual has provided disability income insurance benefits since 1965. Here’s a quick breakdown of its premier long-term disability insurance policy, Radius Choice, that’s designed for highly skilled professionals.

Monthly coverage (maximum)$20,000
(5P, 4P, 3P occupation classes)
Benefit period2 years, 5 years, 10 years, To Age 65, To Age 67 or To Age 70
Elimination period60, 90, 180, 365 and 730 days
Definition of disabilityTotal Disability and Not Working
(True Own-Occupation Rider Available)
Standard featuresNon-cancelable to age 65 (conditionally renewable to age 75)
Policy ridersAutomatic Benefit Increase, Benefit Increase Rider, Catastrophic Disability Benefit, Cost of Living Adjustment, Extended Partial Disability Benefits Rider, Future Insurability Option, Group Supplement Disability Benefit Rider, RetireGuard, Short-Term Disability Benefits Rider, Social Insurance Rider, Student Loan Rider, Additional Monthly Benefit Rider
*Maximum issue limits vary by occupation class and issue age. 730-day elimination period not available in New York.

Fill out the form below to receive a quick quote from SLP Insurance for own-occupation coverage from the “Big 5”. Or keep reading our MassMutual disability insurance review for more specifics about its Radius Choice offerings.

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Built-in features and no-cost policy riders

  • Presumptive total disability. Presumes a total disability if an injury or illness causes a complete loss of speech, hearing in both ears, sight in both eyes, use of both hands, use of both feet, or use of one hand and one foot.
  • Recurring disability. The policy’s elimination period is waived if a new injury or illness is related to a previous disability claim. Must be within 12 months of the prior disability (six months if the benefit period is less than To Age 65).
  • Waiver of premium. Allows you to stop paying premiums while on claim. Note there’s a 90-day window where premiums will be required but later refunded.
  • Potential for dividends. After five years, you’ll be eligible to receive non-guaranteed dividends. If you live in California, Florida or Puerto Rico, you’ll become eligible after six years.
  • Automatic benefit increase rider (ABI). No-cost rider that provides an automatic annual 3% increase in benefits without additional underwriting.
  • Benefit increase rider (BIR). No-cost future purchase option that allows you to buy more insurance coverage once every three years.

Optional disability riders

  • Catastrophic disability benefit rider. Provides an additional catastrophic disability benefit (up to 100% of pre-disability income in combination with base benefit) for a presumptive disability or if you’re unable to perform daily living activities.
  • Cost of living adjustment rider (COLA). The COLA rider helps to keep your disability income in line with inflation by providing benefit increases that are compounded at 3% with no cap.
  • Extended partial disability benefits rider. Provides a benefit if you experience a loss of income of at least 15%
  • Future insurability option rider. Allows you to purchase increases in coverage as your income increases.
  • Group supplement disability benefits rider. Functions as a partial disability return-to-work benefit that supplements group long-term disability.
  • RetireGuard rider. Provides retirement protection by replacing an amount equal to both employee contributions and employer match contributions that would have been made if you hadn’t become totally disabled.
  • Short-term disability benefits rider. Provides benefits for a short period of time during the waiting period of group disability coverage.
  • Social insurance rider. Can lower premiums by opting to reduce policy benefits while receiving disability benefits provided by Social Security, state cash sickness or worker’s compensation.
  • Student loan rider. Provides a monthly benefit to repay student loan debt while totally disabled.
  • Additional monthly benefit rider. Allows for an additional benefit with a waiting period identical to the base policy, but with a shorter benefit period.

MassMutual disability insurance: Pros and cons

Here are some positives and potential drawbacks to consider when choosing MassMutual for disability insurance.

Pro: You can choose the strongest definition of disability

The basic MassMutual Radius Choice policy includes a total disability definition that is specialty-specific. But you can’t work in another capacity while collecting disability benefits.

Let’s say your disability prevents you from performing surgeries. But you’re still able and willing to work in another role or occupation. With MassMutual’s own-occupation rider, you could continue practicing medicine or choose a completely different career path — all without risking losing your disability income.

Pro: You can remove the 24-month mental disorder limitation

Disability insurance policies typically include a 24-month benefit limit for mental health disorders. MassMutual’s maximum benefit period endorsement removes this limitation, and instead, treats a mental health diagnosis as any other disability.

Note this endorsement can’t be removed once the policy is active.

Pro: Eligible policyholders receive dividends

Dividends aren’t guaranteed, but eligible policyholders have received dividends every year since 1869. Its 2023 dividend payout was estimated at $1.9 billion, setting a new company record for the third year in a row.

Pro: MassMutual has high financial strength ratings

MassMutual’s recent financial strength ratings as of August 2023 are as follows:

Rating agencyFinancial strength
A.M. BestA++ (Superior)
Fitch RatingsAA+ (Very Strong)
Moody’s Investors ServiceAa3 (High Quality)
S&P GlobalAA+ (Very Strong)

MassMutual is also in the top 100 on the Fortune 500© list.

Pro: Strong history of supporting customers

MassMutual has served its customers for over a century and a half. Not many companies can boast the following:

“We’ve stood by our policy owners and customers during the Great Depression, the Great Recession, and everything in between. That’s over 170 years of people helping people.”

In terms of the disability insurance side of the business, MassMutual paid over $5.1 billion in disability insurance benefits to policy owners from 2005 to 2020.

Con: Maximum monthly benefit amount might not be enough

MassMutual’s Radius Choice policies have a maximum benefit that ranges from $5,000 to $30,000, depending on your occupation and issue age. For physicians who fall into a 5P, 4P or 3P occupation class for MassMutual, the maximum monthly benefit is capped at $20,000.

That said, some healthcare professionals might be eligible for a monthly benefit of up to $30,000 (e.g., 5A and 4A occupation classes). 

Con: Individual policies can be expensive

An individual disability insurance policy can run you several hundred dollars a month. As a rough budget, you can expect to pay anywhere from 2% to 4% of your income for true own-occupation coverage.

Your actual cost of disability insurance will depend on your specialty, age, gender, health history and policy decisions (e.g., definition of disability, optional riders, etc.).

Is a MassMutual policy right for you?

Choosing the best disability insurance policy is going to depend on your individual circumstances, ideal budget and overall risk tolerance.

For example, if you’re a resident or fellow, you might have access to guaranteed coverage through your program which could be a huge benefit if you have a pre-existing condition. Or maybe you’re okay with forgoing some policy safeguards, such as the COLA rider or catastrophic benefits, in exchange for lower premiums. 

Since there isn’t a one-size-fits-all policy, it’s best to compare options from all of the “Big 5” disability insurance companies to find the coverage you need at the best rate.

SLP Insurance makes it easy to receive custom quotes from the top disability insurance quotes offering true own-occupation coverage. Fill out the form below, and our team will reach out to discuss your existing disability coverage and individual needs to find you an affordable policy with the best discounts.

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SLP Insurance will find you the best price on own occupation coverage, even if it's not with us. Fill out the form below for a quote with up to 30% discounts.

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