You are Your Greatest Asset: Income Replacement and Disability Insurance: Part 1

AUGUST 23, 2016
Bob Bhayani, MBA
In my 26 years of work experience, when I ask physicians what their greatest asset is, invariably the answer I get is along the lines of a 401(k), a house, savings, or a car. But if you give the question some thought, the answer is that you are your greatest asset.
Your health and your ability to get up and go to work is your greatest asset. It is you that makes the home, the 401(k), and the savings all possible. If you become too sick or hurt to work, what would happen? How would you earn an income? How would your lifestyle change? Would your patients go elsewhere?
Recently, a cardiology fellow contacted me to implement a detailed disability and life insurance plan. When I asked him what prompted him to set up the insurance, he replied that in medical school, he was taught that the average CAD patient was in their fifties and sixties. More and more, however, he is seeing patients in their thirties and forties who are type 2 diabetics, hypertensive, have BMI over 35, suffer from hyperlipidemia, or have narrowing of the arteries, amongst many comorbidities, not to mention his own family history of autoimmune disorders.
This all prompted him to start planning before something went wrong. He realized once he had any such chronic diagnosis on his record, he would be ineligible or disqualified from being able to purchase disability insurance.
The truth is we, are all vulnerable.
Often when I review physicians’ contracts, I notice under the Termination of Contract provision that there is a clause that says: If you are unable to perform material duties of your occupation or unable to work for a period of 60-90 days, this contract is null and void.
This gets me thinking that, after years of studying, training, and student loans, when you finally become a physician, any illness or injury can put a stop to your career. How can you replace that six-figure income? Most employers do not provide any group disability coverage, and even if they do it is limited and restrictive in benefits. Government provides minimal Social Security payments if you can meet their very strict definition of disability.
The answer to this very important concern is an Own Occupation Disability Insurance Policy aka Accident/Illness Income Replacement Insurance.
A good disability insurance policy will replace major portions of your income, tax free, if you fall sick or get injured and are not able to work in your own occupation.
In Part II of this series, I will outline all the important features to look for in a comprehensive disability policy.
Bob Bhayani, MBA, is a managing partner at

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