There are many facets to a successful financial plan—setting goals, saving an emergency fund, managing debt, planning for retirement, investing, and protecting what you’ve built with insurance.
Many people turn to disability insurance, also known as disability income insurance, to help plan for the unexpected, as it helps protect your income should you become disabled and unable to work as an orthodontist.
Why Disability Insurance may be Critical for Orthodontists
There are many reasons for orthodontists to purchase disability insurance. Consider these points:
- The odds of experiencing a disability are higher than you may think—According to the CDC1, 1 out of 4 American workers experience a long-term disability at some point during their careers.
- There are varying disabilities that may prevent you from working as an orthodontist—The Council for Disability Awareness shared the most common reasons for long-term disability claims, a majority of which are illnesses rather than accident-caused disabilities2:
- Musculoskeletal disorders (29%)
- Cancer (15%)
- Pregnancy (9.4%)
- Mental health issues, including depression and anxiety (9.1%)
- Injuries such as fractures, sprains and strains of muscles and ligaments (9%)
- There are multiple factors that can increase the risk of a disability3— Alcohol use, illicit drug use, poor diet and nutrition, lack of exercise or physical activity, obesity and smoking can all increase the odds of experiencing a disability.
- Your life could be greatly impacted—If you were unable to work as an orthodontist and earn your current salary, your way of life would be greatly affected. Could you pay your mortgage, bills and loans? What activities and amenities would you have to go without? Could you provide for your loved ones?
- Your extensive education and highly specialized skills—Though orthodontists typically incur high student loan debt, the median salary for orthodontists is $208,000—much higher than the median annual wage of $39,810 for all workers4. You may expect to earn a higher income as an orthodontist for decades, and disability insurance helps ensure your expectations come to fruition, should you ever experience a disability.
To help protect your income and your future, the AAO-Endorsed Insurance Program, administered by Lockton Affinity, offers Group Disability Income Insurance.
AAO-Endorsed Insurance Program’s Group Disability Income Insurance Policy Specifics
Designed specifically for AAO member orthodontists, this policy includes specific benefits to better protect you and your income.
- Own-occupation definition—Helps protect your income if you are disabled and unable to work as an orthodontist, even if you are working in another occupation.
- Multiple coverage options—Choose coverage amounts from $500 to $15,000 per month. If you need assistance, contact Lockton Affinity’s representatives to ensure you have the right coverage in place based on your income.
- Future purchase option—For an additional premium you can increase your coverage in the future to help ensure your coverage keeps pace as your earnings grow.
- Residual benefits available—Continue receiving a portion of your total disability benefit after you return to work.
- Portable coverage—Unlike employer-sponsored plans, this group coverage can stay with you even if you change jobs.
- Additional coverage for DSO/OSO members—This coverage provides DSO/OSOS members with additional coverage of your choosing. Because the coverage is issued in your name, many potential conflicts of interest may be eliminated.
Help ensure your financial plan is complete. Click here for more information about Group Disability Income Insurance from the AAO-Endorsed Insurance Program, including features, costs, eligibility, renewability, and exclusions.
This article was written by Lockton Affinity, the administrator for the AAO-Endorsed Insurance Program.
1 “CDC: 1 in 4 US Adults Live with a Disability.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 Aug. 2018.
2 Integrated Benefits Institute, Health and Productivity Benchmarking 2016 (released November 2017), Long-Term Disability, All Employers. Condition-specific results.
3 “FastStats – Disability and Risk Factors.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 May 2016.
4 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Occupational Outlook Handbook”, September 1, 2020.