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You may be at risk: May is Disability Insurance Awareness month

May 19, 2014

A disabling illness or accident that prevents a member from practicing dentistry is often a life-altering event with financial consequences that few are ever really prepared for.

May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month, and the ADA Council on Members Insurance and Retirement Programs—which oversees the ADA-sponsored Members Disability Income Protection and Office Overhead Expense Insurance Plans—wants members to be aware of the risk of disability.

"No matter what stage of your career—new or established—the inability to practice dentistry and a potential loss of future income is a risk not many seriously consider. Yet, it can happen to anyone—anytime. In fact, becoming disabled—even partially—is more common than one may think," said Dr. Robert Coleman, CMIRP chair.

According to Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Co., underwriter and administrator of the ADA Members Insurance Plans, "1 out of 4 dentists will be disabled long enough to collect benefits at some point before retirement." (Odds of disability determined by Great-West Life in 2013 after studying years of disability claims submitted by insured ADA members.)

The ADA Members Disability Income Protection Plan defines member value in its offering of best in class insurance protection at low cost, ADA member-only rates. Moreover, the ADA plan, designed exclusively for ADA members features a true "own occupation" definition of disability which means that if a member becomes unable to practice in his/her area of dental practice, full benefits can be paid up until age 65, even if the dentist member chooses to work in another area of dental practice or enters a new occupation.

"Even temporary disabilities are enough to deplete a family's savings and change a dentist's financial outlook, which is why the Council on Members Insurance and Retirement Programs is raising awareness among its members, including new dentists and student dental members, of the risk of disability and the need for adequate insurance protection," said Dr. Coleman.

For younger dentists with student debt, a disability could prevent them from establishing a practice or limit their future earnings potential—which could be life changing after making a personal commitment and investment in a dental career.

The ADA dental student members are automatically eligible for the no-cost ADA-sponsored Student Disability Insurance Plan, which provides a monthly income and student loan repayment benefits in the event of disability while completing their dental education, including residency programs. Additionally, upon graduation from dental school, ADA student members are eligible for automatic conversion, without medical underwriting, to the ADA Members Disability Insurance Plan for practicing dentists at ADA members-only premiums.

May is a good time of year to get focused on the importance of guarding against the risk of disability. Insurance is the cornerstone of a solid financial plan, and ADA dentist and student members have access to the best in class member products to protect against the risk of disability.

For information on the ADA Members Insurance Plans visit insurance.ada.org or call an insurance plan specialist at 1-866-607-5338.