Case Study: An Active Duty Physician was Declined for Coverage due to Diving Stipend

Did you know that military physicians have different guidelines when it comes to buying disability insurance? The guidelines can often be confusing which is where we can help.


This article will walk you through a quick overview of how this works and if you want a bird's eye view, please visit our Military Physician resource page here.


Active Duty military physicians often have caps to how much they can purchase for disability insurance, especially if they are already receiving some form of disability benefits from the government. Additionally, the only carrier you can apply to if active duty already, is with MassMutual; but luckily they starting offering a 25% discount for Federal Employees last year. This can be for any Federal Employee, not just military physicians.

What if you are a resident or fellow and Active Duty? Your initial maximum benefit allowable will be $2,000 a month as a starting point, unless you meet the carrier's military physician income guidelines that haven't been formally published. So, how would you know how much more you potentially are allowed to have?


Variables That May Affect Your Original Policy at Approval​:

  • Are You Active Duty?

  • Do You Have Any Upcoming Deployment Orders?

  • Do You Have An Anticipated Discharge Date?

  • Do You Plan To Go Over 20 Years In Service?

If you answer the questions above, in addition to supplying proof of income, we can reach out to our dedicated underwriting team to find out how much more you are allowed to have. If you are curious yourself, you can request a quote here now.


So, let's assume you qualify for the maximum of $2,000 of monthly benefits, based upon the criteria above, as well as your income not supporting any higher coverage. If you have any other income coming from training, you may just be out of luck completely.


Case Study on our Active Duty Navy Physician


Recently, our team helped an Active Duty Navy physician who also did some diving instruction a few hours per month. Because of the diving, he was compensated an extra $500/month bonus which was then was accounted for, in the financial part of the underwriting process. Because of that income, the carrier considered it to be another profession so they declined coverage as it didn't meet the guidelines that they proposed for this active duty physician.

Please note: We highly recommend you apply early in general, to allow for the higher benefits and discounted rates.


If you start with less than the $5,000 resident/fellow amount, your future increase option could also be reduced depending on the type of contract you go with. So to give yourself more flexibility for the future, applying and locking in coverage ASAP is a good idea. This will also help you avoid any medical exclusions that could also arise if you want to secure your insurance without any modifications. This will be important, especially as physicians are offered any locums / moonlighting opportunities.


What if you are a resident or fellow and not Active Duty?

You do have a few carrier options that will allow for you to lock in $5,000 of monthly benefits instead of the $2,000 a month that MassMutual allows for; just like the traditional limits other MDs and DOs have at discounted rates. Quick reference to typical resident limits is here.


To read more about Own Occupation definitions, among other types of contracts, please read our Physician Guide here.


If you want to talk through a specific situation you are facing, please use our online scheduler so that we can discuss what is best for you.


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