Insights Articles Disability Insurance Planning for Physicians: Key Facts & Considerations


Disability Insurance Planning for Physicians: Key Facts & Considerations

Nearly 1 in 5 people living in the United States will suffer a disability lasting more than one year before the age of 65.1

Imagine not being able to practice your specialized medical skills due to illness or injury. The financial impact could be devastating for you and your family. As a physician, your income hinges on your ability to work. That’s why individual disability insurance as part of your financial plan is crucial for safeguarding your earning potential.

Choosing disability insurance involves understanding the different types and the benefits each brings. For example, there are two categories of disability policies, short-term disability and long-term disability. Short-term disability policies are typically obtained as a group policy benefit from one’s employer while long-term disability policies are also offered as a benefit through an employer BUT are more commonly purchased as an individual policy through a broker or financial advisor.

Additionally, you can purchase own-occupation coverage or any-occupation coverage. The difference between the two is meaningful. Under an own-occupation policy, a person is typically considered disabled if they are unable to perform the material and substantial duties of the job they were working at the time they became disabled. Under an any-occupation policy, a person is considered disabled if they are not able to perform substantial duties of any job for which the person may earn a certain percentage of their pre-disability earnings.  

For physicians, it is essential to work with an advisor who understands your needs and unique situation to recommend the right disability insurance strategy.

Beyond basic understanding of disability insurance, it’s important to understand key factors like the carrier, benefit amount, elimination period, and renewal options.

  • Insurance Carrier – know who you are working with. Currently, only 5 carriers offer “true” own-occupation coverage.
  • Benefit Amount – the IRS publishesd “Issue & Participation” amounts based on your income and existing disability coverage.
  • Waiting Period – the amount of time one must wait to collect benefits when disabled – typically 90, 180, 365, or 730 days.
  • Benefit Period – how long one will be eligible to receive their tax-free benefit. This is typically to age 65, 67, 70, or lifetime.

The above list is not all encompassing but should be considered as you construct your insurance package.

At Confluence Financial Partners, we work with physicians to secure and protect their income in the event an unexpected illness or injury becomes reality. Please reach out if you would like to start the conversation today.

Life and disability insurance and life insurance with long-term care benefits are not issued through Confluence Insurance Services. Products and services referenced are offered and sold only by appropriately appointed and licensed entities and financial advisors and professionals. Not all products and services are available in all states. 

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Disability and Health Data System (DHDS) [Internet]. [updated 2023 May; cited 2023 May 15]. Available from:
Rob Linkowski
About the Author

Rob Linkowski brings more than 30 years of experience in designing and providing quality life and disability insurance programs to his clientele of medical professionals, business owners, family and friends. Rob is passionate…

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