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Protecting What Matters Most


Employed Physicians: 10 Things You Need to Know About Individual Disability Insurance

After years of training in your medical specialty and a rising income to protect, many physicians are looking for true "own-occupation" disability protection with sought-after riders, not offered by employer-sponsored coverage. To help members secure quality coverage, TMA Insurance Trust has teamed up with Guardian, one of the foremost disability insurance leaders.

As a TMA member, you’re eligible for a 10% discount from Guardian, an A++ superior-rated insurance company. And more importantly, the discount applies for as long as you keep your policy – which can add up to as much as $15,000 over the life of a 34-year policy.*

To find out why your group long-term disability insurance may not be offering you comprehensive coverage and benefits, continue reading.

1. Gaps in Employer-Sponsored Coverage Leave You Exposed

The plan you may have from a hospital or medical center replaces about 50 to 60% of your base salary typically, and doesn’t include bonuses or other forms of compensation. In most cases, the monthly benefit amount wouldn’t be enough to pay your expenses, loans and debts. That’s why it’s recommended that you close the gap with individual disability insurance coverage.

2. True "Own-Occupation" Definition of Disability is Preferred

It’s important that your individual policy have “own-occupation” coverage that pays benefits when you are not able to perform the material and substantial duties for your medical specialty at the time of your disability. This liberal “own-occupation” definition provides the flexibility for your policy to provide ongoing protection should you decide to change your specialty. Should you become disabled under a true own occupation definition, you would be able to continue working in another occupation while you receive disability benefits.

3. Reduce the Loss of Benefits Due to Taxes

If your employer pays the premiums, you’ll be responsible for paying income tax when you collect benefits, which can reduce the benefits you receive. You can offset this reduction in benefits with your own individual disability insurance policy. Consult your tax advisor for details.

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4. Individual Policies Can’t be Cancelled

Since hospitals and medical centers are cutting budgets these days, you never know when there will be a rate increase in your employer-sponsored group policy or, if your employer may require you to pay a portion of your disability premium. Premium rates, once approved, for a TMA Member Guardian Disability plan are guaranteed for the life of the policy.

5. Individual Benefits are Guaranteed

Group disability benefits provided by your employer can be reduced or changed at any time. With a TMA Member Guardian Disability plan, once your benefits are defined, they cannot be modified for the life of the policy (unless you choose to increase your benefits at a later date and Guardian approves the increase).

6. An Individual Plan Follows You Wherever You Go

Up to 70% of physicians change jobs within the first two years of employment. Since employer-sponsored disability plans aren’t portable, if you decide to change jobs or start your own practice, you’ll be stuck without coverage.

7. Ability to Adjust Benefits for Cost-of-Living Increases

TMA Insurance Trust recommends a Cost of Living Adjustment Rider (COLA) rider for young physicians. It indexes your benefit to inflation. A group policy may not offer this protection.

8. The Option to Increase Benefits as Your Income Rises

A group long-term disability policy may not allow you to increase your benefits, as you continue to get salary increases, without taking a medical exam or submitting to underwriting requirements. By adding a Future Increase Option to your policy you can increase your monthly benefit without any medical underwriting.

9. Superior Quality at a Permanent 10% Discount

Group long-term disability policies are often deficient in the amount of coverage and the quality of benefits offered. That’s why TMA Insurance Trust has made the superior quality of Guardian more affordable for TMA members. The discount lasts for the entire term of the policy, so you’re able to save money every year you’re covered.

10. Assurance of Financial Stability and Policy Guarantees

Since we value trust and reliability as much as you do, we work with companies that have a history of paying claims on time and offering outstanding customer service. Once you’re covered by a quality individual disability insurance policy, your premiums and benefits will be guaranteed for the life of your policy. You will have the peace of mind knowing that your income is properly protected.

Remember, as a full-service insurance agency, TMA Insurance Trust also gives you access to other top disability insurers. Our advisors are standing by to assist you with all your needs, whether you’d like to review the coverage you already have, or want to know how much coverage is necessary to protect your rising income.

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For over 60 years, TMA Insurance Trust advisors have been serving Texas physicians, their families and staff. TMA Insurance Trust prides itself on offering unbiased information and strategies to members, along with exclusive group rates on a range of the highest-rated plans in the industry.

Speak with a TMA Insurance Trust Advisor:

*The total life savings is based on a TMA Member Guardian Disability policy for a 31-year old female physician covered with a $7,500/month benefit with a Future Increase Option of $9,500/month, Enhanced Partial Disability Benefit Rider, 3% Cost of Living Adjustment Rider and $2,000/month Student Loan Rider. With a 10% permanent discount, the savings is $452.54/year until age 65.

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