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  • Resident vs Fellow rates

    Is there any significant difference in rates for life and disability insurance between obtaining coverage as a resident versus fellow (assuming same age/health status/etc)?

    Every year I hear residents talking about getting coverage before the end of residency. Instead of freaking out and rushing to get coverage in June, could they take the time to do their homework and and settle on a policy in July/August instead.?

  • #2
    This would depend on multiple factors.

    1. Different programs could possibly have different discounts. But assuming your fellowship is at the same institution, then your price should still be the same.

    2. Your prices could change depending on your specialty. If you're in an IM residency, you'll be in one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest, medical specialty. However, if you buy disability insurance during an interventional cardiology fellowship, then you'll be in a more expensive medical specialty.

    It is my understanding that you generally get to use the resident discounts (as high as 30%) for the 90 days following the completion of residency/fellowship.

    If you're asking this question, you're too late in buying disability insurance. You should buy before intern year starts. Honestly, all medical students should be applying for disability insurance on match day (assuming you don't have any issues that will result in a denial).

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Romberg45 View Post
      This would depend on multiple factors.

      1. Different programs could possibly have different discounts. But assuming your fellowship is at the same institution, then your price should still be the same.

      2. Your prices could change depending on your specialty. If you're in an IM residency, you'll be in one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest, medical specialty. However, if you buy disability insurance during an interventional cardiology fellowship, then you'll be in a more expensive medical specialty.

      It is my understanding that you generally get to use the resident discounts (as high as 30%) for the 90 days following the completion of residency/fellowship.

      If you're asking this question, you're too late in buying disability insurance. You should buy before intern year starts. Honestly, all medical students should be applying for disability insurance on match day (assuming you don't have any issues that will result in a denial).
      I largely agree but question the benefit of individual LTDI for non-procedural specialty (ie, general IM, Rads) residents with 12-months of liquidity or favorable personal/family situation. It seems easy to argue that SSDI will offer similar, yet slightly lower benefit.

      Edit: The appropriate argument for non-procedural residents getting LTDI early in training is that an individual can lock in a lower rate when they are younger and healthier.
      Last edited by oysterblues; 05-28-2020, 08:32 PM.

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      • #4
        Rates won't get cheaper (most likely), age factor.
        Cover $5k with guarantee for increase.
        The big risk is insurability, face it, that's why you by insurance.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by goldenchimpy View Post
          Is there any significant difference in rates for life and disability insurance between obtaining coverage as a resident versus fellow (assuming same age/health status/etc)?

          Every year I hear residents talking about getting coverage before the end of residency. Instead of freaking out and rushing to get coverage in June, could they take the time to do their homework and and settle on a policy in July/August instead.?
          If the age, state, and program are the same then the rates will be the same unless health changes. Some reps send tons of emails, have count down clocks and all sorts of other things to create false urgency to create a sale now but If one finishes June 30 then they, at a minimum, will have until Sept 1 for the same rates. In some cases you even have 6 months....

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          • #6
            Originally posted by oysterblues View Post

            I largely agree but question the benefit of individual LTDI for non-procedural specialty (ie, general IM, Rads) residents with 12-months of liquidity or favorable personal/family situation. It seems easy to argue that SSDI will offer similar, yet slightly lower benefit.

            Edit: The appropriate argument for non-procedural residents getting LTDI early in training is that an individual can lock in a lower rate when they are younger and healthier.
            I think the appropriate argument to get insurance during residency is in case you get disabled during residency. I'd hate to get disabled during residency and live in poverty with an MD degree.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Romberg45 View Post

              I think the appropriate argument to get insurance during residency is in case you get disabled during residency. I'd hate to get disabled during residency and live in poverty with an MD degree.
              I may have completely missed your point, sorry if that is the case. SSDI will cover disability serious enough to prevent someone from completing residency. For example, there is a resident at my hospital who is wheelchair-bound. The vast majority of residency programs will do what it takes to get residents through their training programs. Any person with a catastrophic injury, preventing them from completing their residency, should be eligible for SSDI. Monthly benefits on the PGY payscale are similar between SSDI and individual LTDI (Guardian, Ohio, etc). With either option (SSDI or individual LTDI), any claim made during residency will not give you that attending lifestyle.

              Bottom line: getting an individual LTDI is a good idea if you want to lock in a low rate while young + healthy.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by oysterblues View Post
                I may have completely missed your point, sorry if that is the case. SSDI will cover disability serious enough to prevent someone from completing residency. For example, there is a resident at my hospital who is wheelchair-bound. The vast majority of residency programs will do what it takes to get residents through their training programs. Any person with a catastrophic injury, preventing them from completing their residency, should be eligible for SSDI. Monthly benefits on the PGY payscale are similar between SSDI and individual LTDI (Guardian, Ohio, etc). With either option (SSDI or individual LTDI), any claim made during residency will not give you that attending lifestyle.

                Bottom line: getting an individual LTDI is a good idea if you want to lock in a low rate while young + healthy.
                Sorry, I am just now realizing you mean Social Security Disability. I thought you meant short-term disability insurance at first.

                Social Security Disability (SSDI) is the absolute worst disability insurance you can rely on. I'm starting my internship this summer, and I'm not even eligible for SSDI. Why? That's because I haven't earned enough credits to qualify. I won't qualify for SSDI until I'm a PGY-3.

                But let's say I do qualify. What if I get disabled? Well, first of all, my disability must be expected to last at least a year for me to qualify for SSDI. But if I can do any other job, such as work as a McDonald's cashier, then I'm not eligible for SSDI.

                There are plenty of reasons to get private disability insurance as a resident, even in non-procedural fields. What if you get a TBI significant enough to prevent you from doing radiology, but not significant enough to prevent you from working at Walmart? In this scenario, you're not eligible for SSDI.

                And lastly, my private disability policy will pay me $6k per month tax-free if I'm disabled. What if I was eligible for SSDI? It would pay an average of $1,258 per month. Good luck on those poverty wages, if you are even eligible.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Scott at MD Financial Services View Post

                  If the age, state, and program are the same then the rates will be the same unless health changes. Some reps send tons of emails, have count down clocks and all sorts of other things to create false urgency to create a sale now but If one finishes June 30 then they, at a minimum, will have until Sept 1 for the same rates. In some cases you even have 6 months....
                  Thanks, this is exactly what I was curious about. There’s a resident in my department who has been all worked up after getting these emails/letters acting like there is a huge time crunch. I wanted to reassure her a bit to take the time and look into her options but I wasn’t sure as I was never in that position.

                  Thanks again!

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                  • #10
                    “. I wanted to reassure her a bit to take the time and look into her options but I wasn’t sure as I was never in that position.”
                    •Age: birthday
                    •State: where you actually reside
                    •Program: Residency won’t change
                    •”Her” involves unisex rates, those change infrequently, but do change.

                    The preferable approach is decide the coverage including riders and pick the best option. That is a much simpler choice prior to finishing residency.
                    That would imply having “her” contact someone like Scott shortly in June. That isn’t time pressure, getting the options and leaves her time for decision making. The point is procrastinating produces no benefits.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks Tim. Amber in our office is really good at figuring out the unisex game for folks and sometimes it is actually best to wait until you are out to obtain coverage because the future employer might have a unisex and the current resident program does not. If we can help then we will but the main thing is to find an agent that will put your needs above theirs and that will treat you ethically/fair.

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                      • #12
                        Clarification please:
                        My understanding is the “grace period” applies only to the program eligibility. Age and state are actual at time of application. State/affiliation would be the variables that drive the choices for the resident. New address or new program are the variables with leeway.

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                        • #13
                          You are correct. For example, if you were in IL, finished training, moved to CA and then want coverage, we can get the Residency discount applied but CA rates will apply. Where you are physically standing when you apply for coverage controls the way the application has to be written in 48 states, CA and FL are exceptions.

                          I will mention this too, when moving it is is also important to know if the Future Purchase Options from the carrier you have will be based on the original state of issue or if the rates will be based on the then state of residency. This can make a big difference in costs for the insured if they anticipate moving to a higher cost state.

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