Just think—if you were unable to work as an orthodontist and earn your current salary, your life would be greatly affected. Could you pay your mortgage, bills and loans?

Disability insurance is critical for orthodontists and to meet the need for member orthodontists, the AAO-Endorsed Insurance Program, administered by Lockton Affinity offers Group Disability Income Insurance, underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company.

Because there are short-term and long-term disability policy options available, it is crucial to understand the exact policy you need.

Understanding Short-Term Disability and Long-Term Disability Insurance

Short-term disability insurance replaces your income if you’re unable to work for a short period of time. This coverage can last from three months to one year, depending on the policy.

Short-term disability insurance is typically offered by employers as a benefit to employees and is meant to precede long-term disability insurance. Once your short-term policy has ended, your long-term policy will kick in.

Long-term disability insurance replaces your income for years or even decades. Often long-term policies have an elimination period before you can receive benefits. Elimination periods can be 30 to 365 days, depending on the policy, which is why a short-term policy may be critical to have in your financial plan.

Short-Term and Long-Term Disability Coverage Details

Whatever type or combination of disability policies you choose, you will experience different coverage details around elimination periods, payouts and more. It is important to take these specifics into account as you are looking at policy options.

Elimination period

Disability insurance policies have an elimination period that determines how long you must be out of work due to your sickness or injury before benefits are payable. These elimination periods can range from days and weeks for short-term disability coverage or months for long-term disability coverage. Often, the shorter the waiting period, the higher your premiums may be. If you select a policy with a longer elimination period, you may want to consider buying short-term disability insurance to cover the gap.


After the claims process has been completed and your elimination period has passed, you will begin receiving checks. Disability payments will generally continue to be paid until you reach your selected benefit duration or you cease to be disabled. Long-term disability periods can range from two years or until you hit retirement.

Any-Occupation vs. Own-Occupation Policies

The difference between an any-occupation and own-occupation policy is important to consider, especially as an orthodontist.

An any-occupation disability policy will only consider you disabled and benefit eligible if you are unable to work in any occupation. If you have the capacity to work in another occupation, you would be ineligible for disability insurance payments.

An own-occupation policy helps protect your income should an illness or injury leave you unable to work as an orthodontist, even if you are working in another occupation.

Own-occupation disability insurance is the most lenient type of policy. It is also the one that best protects your income, as you have a higher chance of your claim being approved and receiving coverage if you are no longer able to work as an orthodontist.

Get the Insurance and Support You Need

The AAO-Endorsed Insurance Program’s Group Disability Income insurance, underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company, offers many of the coverage details orthodontists may need, including:

  • Own-occupation definition—You are considered totally disabled if a covered illness or injury leaves you unable to work as an orthodontist, even if you are working in another occupation.
  • Multiple policy options—Choose policy amounts from $500 to $15,000 per month, not to exceed 60% of your average monthly income when combined with any other disability insurance you have or for which you are applying. If you need assistance, contact our representatives if you have any questions.
  • Future purchase option—Increase your coverage in the future without medical underwriting to help ensure your insurance keeps pace as your earnings grow.
  • Residual benefits available—Continue receiving a portion of your monthly benefit after you return to work on a part-time basis following a total disability for which you received benefit payments.
  • Portable insurance—Unlike employer-sponsored policies, you can take this coverage with you even if you change jobs.

Plus, the AAO-Endorsed Insurance Program offers no cost Group Student Disability Income Insurance to help protect orthodontic residents, too.

As administrator of the AAO-Endorsed Insurance Program, Lockton Affinity can help answer all your insurance questions, big and small, short-term and long-term.

Contact our dedicated representatives today or click the above website for more information on this coverage, including features, costs, eligibility, renewability, limitations and exclusions.

The AAO-Endorsed Insurance Program is administered by Lockton Affinity, LLC d/b/a Lockton Affinity Insurance Brokers LLC, Affinity Administrator Services, LLC in California Insurance License Number 0795478, in Arizona Insurance License Number 1800004362 and in Arkansas Insurance License Number 100108685. Coverage may not be available in all states and is subject to actual policy terms and conditions. Policy benefits are the sole obligation of the issuing insurance company. American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) will receive a royalty fee for the licensing of its name and trademarks as part of the insurance program offered to the extent permitted by applicable law.

*Underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company, 51 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010 on Policy Form GMR.

New York Life Insurance Company is licensed/authorized to transact business in all of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada. However, not all group policies it underwrites are available in all jurisdictions. Please check the eligibility sections for current availability. New York Life Insurance Company’s state of domicile is New York, and NAIC ID is #66915.