Jamie JohnsonBy Jamie Johnson, WCI Contributor

Disability insurance is necessary for all physicians so they can continue to receive a paycheck even if they become disabled. Guaranteed Standard Issue (GSI) disability insurance offers physicians with pre-existing conditions the ability to qualify without medical underwriting, and it’s a good idea to understand how GSI policies work and how to buy one.

Research has shown that one in seven doctors will become disabled during their career, so you shouldn’t wait to apply for disability insurance, GSI disability insurance is one potential option. 


How to Buy GSI Disability Insurance

Most physicians can enroll in a GSI program at their medical school or hospital. Many schools and residency programs offer GSI disability insurance. For example, Georgetown, Cedars Sinai, and UCLA Medical Center are just a few programs that offer GSI policies to residents. However, the availability of GSI policies depends on where you’re completing your residency, and each program has specific coverages and limitations. Since these policies aren’t always advertised, it’s essential to do your research and ask around. 

It might also be possible to approach insurance providers directly to find a GSI policy.

The best option may be to consult with an experienced broker. An independent insurance broker can look at your situation and recommend insurance options that may be a good fit for you. They can suggest different policies and riders to enhance your coverage options. 

More information here:

Guaranteed Standard Issue (GSI) vs. Traditional Disability Insurance


Things to Consider Before Buying Disability Insurance

Here are a few things you should know before applying for GSI disability insurance:

  • Insurance requirements: You don’t want to rush into applying for disability insurance since most GSI programs won’t approve you for a policy if another insurer has already turned you down. Insurance providers are willing to insure you if you have a pre-existing condition, but they don’t want to insure someone who’s already been denied coverage.  
  • Amount of coverage: It’s important to understand the coverage limits on your policy and if there is a maximum limit you can receive. For example, your policy may cover 60% of your gross income but up to a monthly maximum limit of $15,000.
  • Waiting period: Most disability insurance comes with a waiting period, and long-term policies can have a waiting period of up to a year. Ideally, you’ll find a policy with a 90-day waiting period. 
  • Additional riders: Find out if additional disability insurance riders are available since these can significantly improve your coverage. For example, you may find a rider for cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) or have the option to increase your coverage as your income increases. 

how to buy gsi disability insurance

More information here:

Guaranteed Standard Issue Disability Insurance Cost


The Bottom Line

It’s a good idea to purchase GSI disability coverage early in your career to protect your income. There’s no required medical unwriting, so GSI policies tend to be easy to qualify for—even if you have a pre-existing condition. 

Working with an experienced insurance broker can help you learn what options are available to you. After you’ve qualified for a GSI policy, you may want to purchase an additional disability policy to supplement your coverage. 

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