Physicians Need to Consider Short-Term Disability Insurance Offerings for Themselves and Staff at Their Practice

Running any business comes with challenges, and operating a successful medical practice is no exception. It is necessary to consider the details and policies specific to the medical profession in order to protect patients and their private information. However, those in charge of a medical practice cannot ignore the regular business components that keep a business running smoothly. This includes hiring and retaining the staff necessary to keep your medical practice functional. One consideration in attracting the staff necessary for your medical practice is providing a compensation package to attract and successfully employ medical staff including physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals. Compensation packages are not limited to pay but include a variety of benefits. An important benefit to include is short-term disability insurance. 

Should an employee become disabled and unable to continue working in your medical practice, offering them disability insurance benefits provides financial security when your employee is missing their income. Often, people focus on long-term disability insurance and scenarios because of the severity and longevity of the illness or injury. However, long-term disability benefits do not become effective from the start of the disabling condition. To prevent this gap in financial benefit at the beginning of the disabled employee’s illness or injury, they need another solution. Including short-term disability insurance benefits as a compensation offering for your employees provides financial peace of mind in the time period before long-term disability benefits become effective. 

Of course, it can be difficult to navigate the short-term disability claim process, especially when dealing with medical treatment for your disabling condition. Having an experienced short-term disability insurance lawyer work with you through this process can be fundamental to success in obtaining short-term disability insurance benefits. Seltzer & Associates has a complete legal team with experienced disability insurance attorneys to guide clients through this process and fight on their behalf should they encounter obstacles in obtaining their short-term disability insurance benefits.

Doctors Should Not Neglect to Obtain Their Own Short-Term Disability Insurance Coverage 

As important as it is to offer short-term disability insurance benefits to the staff of your medical practice, you need to ensure you have the proper short-term disability insurance coverage for yourself. While you can purchase and contract for a variety of business insurance policies to cover business expenses and meet the needs of your practice if you become disabled, you need to think about your individual financial well-being too. Doctors need to obtain their own short-term disability insurance coverage to protect their finances while they are unable to work in the immediate time frame after illness or injury, as well as the interim period before long-term disability insurance takes effect. It can take months before a long-term disability insurance policy will provide benefits to a disabled doctor. The lack of income during this period can create significant financial strain on a disabled physician which in turn can worsen the disabled doctor’s health as they worry about finances. 

Short-Term Disability Benefits Provide Financial Security to Recently-Disabled Medical Employees 

It is worth noting that medical professionals have a certain amount of occupational hazard when it comes to contracting diseases or suffering injuries that could result in disability. While work-related injuries can be covered under workers’ compensation, this does not cover all disabling scenarios, and short-term disability insurance benefits are an important tool to protect employees. 

Disability insurance policies have an elimination period where no financial benefit is provided to the insured after an illness or injury stops the insured from working. The elimination period for long-term disability insurance benefits can be several months, which is why a short-term disability insurance policy is so important to have. The elimination period for short-term disability insurance can be as little as a few days or weeks, typically between seven to fourteen days, at which point the disability insurance benefits will become effective. Without short-term disability benefits, disabled insureds would be without a replacement income stream for months, placing a significant financial burden on those unable to work.

There are also several types of illness or injury that may conclude during the short-term disability period before long-term benefits become available such as:

  • Recovery from surgery to treat a condition or injury
  • Pregnancy complications 
  • Joint injuries, including wrist and hand injuries and knee injuries  
  • Bacterial infections and other infectious diseases

Whether your medical team experiences these types of disabling conditions from the nature of their work in the medical community or due to other sources, providing them with the option for short-term disability coverage is a crucial benefit that will protect them financially. 

Who Pays Short-Term Disability Insurance Premiums?

Short-term disability insurance policies come in many forms. If you are considering offering group short-term disability insurance for the employees of your medical practice, you will need to make a business decision on the structure this takes. Depending on the practice and budget, your practice may offer to cover the premium for short-term disability insurance completely. It is also possible to have the employer and employee share in the cost of premiums or for the employee to obtain the short-term disability plan through the employer but be responsible for the premium on their own. You could offer a premium reimbursement program as a benefit if it does not make sense for your practice to contract for short-term disability benefits on your employees’ behalf. In this way, your employees can purchase their own short-term disability insurance policy at a subsidized rate through their employment.

Making these decisions can be difficult as you need to balance your medical practice’s budget and offer attractive benefits to retain employees. There are several disability insurance companies for you to choose from, and consulting with an insurance broker can help you weigh the options and offers of these companies. When deciding how to assign the responsibility for paying the disability insurance premiums, a business advisor or tax advisor can help you determine your options, as you want to consider how this decision will impact your business books. 

Employee Eligibility for Short-Term Disability Insurance Coverage

You may also consider the eligibility of your employees to receive short term disability insurance benefits through you as their employer. As this is your medical practice to operate, you can determine other criteria for offering this benefit or other benefits, such as longevity with your practice or hours worked status. There are some common requirements, such as the employee being a full-time employee or the employee working for your practice for a certain period of time; usually, the employee will be eligible for these benefits after about six weeks. Of course, each short-term disability insurance plan has its own requirements, so reviewing these carefully for yourself and your practice is important.

Remember to Review Employee Benefits Packages Regularly

It is also important to remember to review your employee benefits packages regularly, including pay scale, retirement, and insurance offerings. You want to remain competitive to retain your employees as well as protect your medical practice’s finances. Your disability insurance company may change rates from year to year as well as change coverage options. If you are offering disability insurance benefits to your employees, you want your options to be cost-effective to you and to them while providing an appropriate disability insurance package. 

Short-Term Disability Appeal Deadlines Approach Quickly

Due to short-term disability insurance benefits covering a shorter span of time, it is reasonable to expect that everything will move on an abbreviated timeline when dealing with short-term disability appeals. While each plan has its own provisions and deadlines, many short-term disability insurance policies have a 60-day appeal deadline. This is significantly shorter than the long-term disability appeals timeline. 

Acknowledging that you need to be even more proactive in appealing a denied short-term disability claim, it is extremely important to work with a short-term disability appeal lawyer. Your short-term disability insurance attorney can quickly identify your deadlines and keep you on track so you do not lose the opportunity to appeal an unfavorable decision by your disability insurance company. 

There are a number of reasons why your claim for short-term disability benefits may be denied. One of the reasons short disability insurance benefits are denied is a lack of medical evidence to support your status as disabled. When you have a sudden illness or injury that disables you and prevents you from maintaining your medical career, the replacement income from short-term disability insurance benefits is essential to your financial peace of mind.

Schedule Your Free Consultation with a Short-Term Disability Lawyer

If your pursuit of short-term disability insurance benefits presents a challenge, it is critical that you work with a short-term disability lawyer to get your claim on track. Contact Seltzer & Associates to schedule your free consultation to discuss your short-term disability insurance benefits by completing our online contact form or calling our office at 888-699-4222.