Wednesday, August 5, 2015

When the unexpected happens..

A true story of an OBGYN physician from CA:

It was 6AM and I was driving to work down the same road that I have a hundred times before. I was waiting at a stoplight. The accident happened so quickly.

When I awoke in the hospital, I was the patient being treated not the doctor treating the patient. My neck, back and legs were in deep pain.  It was at that moment I knew my life and the life of my family had changed.  Believe me, I was glad to be alive, but, I wondered what was my life going to be like now. 

The hospital staff told me that a car had rear-ended me at the stoplight. To this day I do not recall any part of the accident. The next several months consisted of countless doctor visits, physical therapy treatments and a rising stack of bills. 

In the beginning my employer was sympathetic. They allowed me to take my time to get healthy and return to work when I was ready. I attempted to go back to work part time, however, some of my injuries were debilitating and working part time was still too much for me.

A few months later I was instructed by my employer to either come back full time or not at all. They said it was my responsibility to continue all my surgical duties as well as my clinical duties. I felt that this was impossible for me to do. My neck, back and leg pain continued to get worse at work especially while performing surgery.

I was devastated that my career I had worked so long and hard for was ending.

"How would I continue to pay for my student loans, home mortgage, car payment, food and gas if I could not work as an OBGYN physician anymore?"  Even if I could work in some capacity in a different position, no job would pay me enough to cover my monthly costs. What was I going to do? 

Then I remembered that I had purchased


As resident I heard about own occupation disability insurance from other physicians as well as from the insurance brokers that came and spoke to the residents at the hospital. During my medical residency my budget was extremely tight and I fought the idea of purchasing a comprehensive disability insurance plan.  I am so grateful now that I followed the advice of my insurance broker who insisted it was in my best interest to purchase a policy then.

Because of this policy purchase, I now receive my tax free disability insurance benefits check every month and have been for the last 10 years. The own occupation benefit feature in my policy also allows me to receive full benefits even when I have earned extra income as a consultant.

What about my employer's long term disability insurance plan?

I was under the impression from my employer's benefits manual that I would receive 60% of my salary or $10,000 per month in benefits from the group long term disability plan. I have not received any monies whatsoever from my employer's policy. The disability policy terms in my employer's plan were extremely ambiguous and I was determined ineligible to receive benefits from it.


My comprehensive individual disability insurance policy that I purchased separately is paying my benefits in full and my employer's plan is paying me nothing.

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