[Editor's Note: This is a post in a continuing guest series by Lawrence B. Keller, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®, RHU®, LUTCF keeping us up to date about the ever-changing disability insurance marketplace. We have no financial relationship.]
In my last guest post, I revealed that MetLife had introduced their Income Guard policy in the majority of states. Since that time, it has been approved in all but six states (California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia and Vermont). Again, this provides Anesthesiologists and Emergency Physicians (in the above states with the exception of California) a unique opportunity to purchase a policy from MetLife that covers disabilities related to mental and nervous conditions in the same way as any other accident or illness.
Additionally, MetLife has also upgraded the following physicians to their best medical occupation class (6M): Allergists, Family Practice Physicians, Gastroenterologists, General Practice Physicians, Gerontologists, Hematologists, Internal Medicine Physicians, Neonatologists, Nephrologists, Pulmonologists and Rheumatologists. For many of these physicians, this enhancement can mean up to a 25% savings. They now join Pediatricians, Oncologists, Neurologists and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physicians, which were upgraded previously.
Ameritas has increased the competitiveness of their Young Professionals Program. Now, all physicians, within two years of graduation from residency or fellowship, can purchase up to $7,500 month of disability insurance, regardless of their earned incomes. Up to $7,500 month of Future Increase Option (FIO) Rider is also available (allowing an insured to reach $15,000 month, the maximum that Ameritas will issue to physicians). However, keep in mind, that any in force disability benefits (either individual or group LTD) would offset this amount. This is not the case for some of the other carriers.
Berkshire recently introduced an optional DI Student Loan Protection Rider that can be added to their ProVider Plus and ProVider Plus Limited policies.
This rider reimburses the insured for $500-$2,000 per month (in addition to the normal Issue & Participation limits) towards student loan payments in the event of Total Disability. 90 and 180 day waiting periods are available with benefits periods of 10 years (available to those insureds ages 18-40) or 15 years (available to those insureds ages 18-45).
While no loan documentation is required at the time of application to purchase the rider, evidence of student loans and payment are required as part of the proof of loss at the time of claim in order to receive benefits. This rider is also limited to student loan debt only and student loans restructured as non-student loan debt (such as into a mortgage or business loan) will not qualify.
Student loan debt from both undergraduate and graduate education can be covered. The debt may be through a government student loan program or a chartered bank or lender. This rider is available to professionals “pursuing or holding an advanced degree”. This includes those pursuing or holding a degree at the master’s level or higher. Professional certifications and designations do not qualify as advanced degrees. As of this writing, this rider is not approved in California, Florida, Montana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania or Vermont.
Questions? Comments? Do you think a student loan protection rider is a good idea? Sound off in the comments section!