HomeLearnIncome Protection Olympics: The Gold/Silver/Bronze Winners of Physician Group Disability Insurance 

In the crowded field of competition for physician disability coverage, it’s often difficult to identify clear winners. However, when put through the rigors of an Olympic-class comparison, the medalists quickly emerge from the pack. Here’s a quick sprint through the key features and options offered, who makes the podium, and why.

Starting Line: IDI

The starting point for any physician should be a solid individual disability policy. The majority of physicians obtain this coverage early in their careers, usually before they leave medical school. This is premium coverage, with rich benefits; but is usually capped at an amount that leaves a growing gap in their revenue replacement ratio as the physician’s income increases.

Get in the Podium Contention: IDI Supplement (Group Disability)

To close the coverage gap, physicians should supplement base IDI coverage with a specialized group disability plan. This is an effective and economical way to protect more income – provided the right coverage is selected. Not all plans are created equal, particularly in the case of physicians, and many plans don’t even quality to compete on the same field.

“Disqualified” Traditional Group Coverage

Medicine is a highly specialized profession, requiring highly specialized coverage. For this reason, traditional non-specialized “commercial” LTD coverage should never be offered to a physician group. Due to a variety of inherent weaknesses, this coverage should be “disqualified” from the onset and removed from the field of competition to make way for the true competitors: those whose provisions closely supplement the richness of IDI coverage but without its underwriting requirements.

“Bronze” IDI Supplement Coverage

This level of provisions is the minimum that should be considered for physician disability plans – and the bar is pretty high. At a minimum, no plan should be offered to a physician that doesn’t address the following key provisions:

  • Own specialty/sub-specialty defined by the American Board of Medical Specialties
  • Duties defined by procedures they have recently performed  (ICD-10, CPT codes)
  • “Best of both worlds” formulas to pay for partial disabilities
  • Retro disability benefit®
  • Longer payment periods for those over age 63
  • Physician-specific specialized claims unit
  • No managed disability language
  • No maximum capacity language
  • No part-time work requirement
  • No mandatory rehab requirement
  • No self-reported illness restrictions

“Silver” IDI Supplement Coverage

Several key features and riders added to the bronze base coverage provide a level of customized value that is highly attractive to physicians. These include:

  • Infectious disease rider
  • Extended earnings rider
  • 24 month return-to-work incentive.

“Gold” IDI Supplement Coverage

The addition of physician-focused specialty riders distinguishes this level of plan from all others. These riders address the unique insurance wrinkles associated with the medical profession, and provide affordable flexibility in customizing solutions to particular physicians’ needs. Riders include:

  • Pension contribution
  • Malpractice insurance reimbursement
  • Business protection

Note: The IRS has requirements that may apply to the Pension Contribution Rider. We advise employers to consult with their plan advisors about whether there are any plan qualification tax issues related to payments made under this rider and whether the plan must be amended to accept payments under it.

Podium or Bust – Physician Group Disability Track Record

Medicine is a specialized profession, and in the Olympics of providing the best disability coverage possible, key features and provisions can be the difference in making the sales podium with your physician clients.  However, traditional group disability plans are typically lacking in core features that move the needle – a fact often overlooked by physicians and their brokers.

MGIS pioneered many of these concepts and brings over 45 years of experience in serving physician’s specialized needs, and remains a leader in this industry today. To see how IDI supplement group disability coverage from Sun Life Financial can benefit your physician clients, contact your MGIS Regional Sales Vice President today.


Product offerings, benefits and features may not be available in all states and may vary depending on state laws and regulations.

This coverage does not constitute comprehensive health insurance (often referred to as “major medical coverage”) and does not satisfy the requirement for Minimum Essential Coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The disability policies provide disability income insurance only. They do NOT provide basic hospital, basic medical, or major medical insurance as defined by the New York State Insurance Department.

Group life and disability insurance policies are underwritten by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Wellesley Hills, MA) in all states, except New York, under Policy Form Series 93P-LH, 07P-LH-PT/07C-LH-PT, 12-STDPort-C-01, 12-GP-01, and 12-DI-C-01. In New York, group life and disability insurance policies are underwritten by Sun Life and Health Insurance Company (U.S.) (Windsor, CT) under Policy Form Series 13-GP-LH-01, 13-LTD-C-01-MGIS, 13-STD-C-01-MGIS, 13-ADD-C-01-MGIS, 13-GP-LF-01, 13-LF-C-01-MGIS, 12-GPPort-01, 13-LFPort-C-01, 13-ADDPort-C-01 and 12-STDPort-C-01.

Administration for physician products is provided by Medical Group Insurance Services, Inc. (MGIS), in all states, except as follows: in CA by MGIS Insurance Agency, Inc.; in NY by MGIS Insurance Agency. Product offerings may not be available in all states and may vary depending on state laws and regulations.

© 2015 Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481. All rights reserved.

GGEL-PHY-490        SLPC 26623 07/15 (exp. 12/15)

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