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Beyond the Basics: Doctors and Disability Insurance

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Beyond the Basics: Doctors and Disability Insurance
OMA Insurance
Can you pass this simple disability insurance test for doctors? Put your expertise to the test and find out if you’re covered.
What features do you have on your disability insurance policy?
Own occupation
Guaranteed Insurability Benefit (GIB)
Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)
Retirement Protection
70+ DI Coverage Option
I’m not sure. Maybe I should check with a quick phone call to OMA Insurance.


Statistics show that most people are better prepared financially in case of death than if they become disabled. This is despite the fact that during your income producing years, there’s actually a much higher probability of you becoming disabled than dying.1 You and your family’s financial well-being are tied to your ability to work and with the right disability coverage and features you can protect the investment you made in your profession. 

What is Disability Insurance?


Disability Insurance is a simple, most cost-effective way to help protect yourself with a reliable flow of income during a period of disability, so you can focus on your recovery instead of worrying about your financial resources. What defines a total disability as it relates to your occupation?  
A disability is defined as the inability to perform the essential duties of your occupation due to either an injury or sickness, while under the care of a physician and not working in any other gainful (reasonable to your training and education) occupation.


Own Occupation for Doctors

What if your disability stops you from returning to your pre-disability job; but you are capable and want to work in another occupation?  Well, this is the scenario where you will want to have a rider called Own Occupation added to your plan.  Having this rider would mean that your disability benefit will continue paying you even while you earn income from that new job.

​ Having this rider would ​mean that your disability benefit will continue paying you even while you earn income from that new job.


Having an Own Occupation rider protects you because it gives you the freedom to work in another medical specialty or completely different job after a disability. If you choose to work elsewhere, you may still be able to receive benefits. If you are capable of working in another capacity but choose not to while on claim, there are no negative consequences.

All medical specialities shouldn’t automatically apply for this rider. It’s helpful to get advice from OMA Insurance on whether it’s appropriate for your individual situation. Consider what “essential duties” are of your specialty. The Own Occupation rider might be more important for those medical specialities that are more focused versus those that are broader in scope; for example, a surgeon versus family medicine practitioner. ​

To determine if the Own Occupation rider would be right for you here are two questions to ask yourself:

  1. What extent of an injury or illness would have to happen to prevent me from performing my essential duties, and
  2. Would I be able and would I want to use my skills, knowledge and expertise to do something other than what I'm doing now?

If the answer is 'yes' then you should consider the Own Occupation rider on your plan.

One more fact – the Own Occupation rider can only be of value to you in a situation where you are totally disabled. If you can perform some of your pre-disability job’s essential duties, then you may considered residually disabled. Residual coverage is a provision that continues paying proportional benefits if, and when you return to work but still suffer a loss of income.

The Own Occupation feature only applies when you can’t perform any of your pre-disability essential duties.


Other features and riders to consider when looking for a policy

  • The Guaranteed Insurability ​Benefit (GIB) is one of the most popular riders, and one that may be particularly important to early career physicians. This provision allows you to increase your monthly benefits in the future with no medical underwriting required. Members who have this rider can upgrade their benefits once each year between May 1st and May 31st.

  • A cost of living adjustment (COLA) rider to your policy ensures that in the case of disability, your benefit payments will increase by the Consumer Price Index rate. ​​

  • ​The Retirement Protection Rider provides an additional monthly benefit that will be paid into a locked-in, non-registered investment fund while you're totally disabled after the 90-day Elimination Period. These investment funds become available to you at age 65 or your estate upon death. ​

  • OMA Insurance has the 70+ DI Coverage Option that provides coverage to age 80 for those members who continue to work past traditional retirement age. It's guaranteed acceptance - no medical underwriting required. Maximum all-source benefit is up to $10,000 from all sources with a 90-day elimination period and a 12-month benefit period.

  • There are several options for the Elimination Period (EP) (this is the waiting period between a disability and the date you would start collecting benefits). The EP can be as short as 30 days and as long as 365 days. The longer the EP the lower the premium.   

  • As a policyholder with an OMA Disability Policy you are also eligible for​
      • Encore65, a no cost member coverage that provides benefits for home care and home renovation as well as a fracture payment; and
      • Annual Pr​emium Refunds, where premiums not used for claims, expenses and reserves may be refunded.
OMA Insurance has a team of non-commissioned Insurance Advisors who are fully licensed and advocate solely for the best interests of doctors', residents and medical students. Whatever your career stage, our unbiased experts can help explain, clarify, find the solution that's right for you and arrange the coverage you need.