Find Available Supplemental Disability Insurance
When a serious injury or illness or causes a disability, it also creates potential financial hardship. Disabilities are short-term, long-term or permanent. Regardless of how long they last, disabilities inconvenience your life at best and derail it at worst. Are you forced to not work because of your disability? For some people a loss of work is temporary. For others, it is not possible to ever return to work again.
Supplemental disability insurance is available to help you navigate your loss of income and other financial hardships caused by your disability. What types of plans do disability insurers offer? Are both new and pre-existing conditions covered? Read ahead for an informative guide on how to find available supplemental disability insurance and get the help you need today.
Intro to Supplemental Disability Insurance
Supplemental disability insurance helps navigate a loss of income and other financial hardships caused by a serious disability. Whether the disability is short-term, long-term or permanent it is likely you are forced to take significant time off of work. Workers Compensation covers medical expenses and loss of income due to job-site injuries. Health insurance policies cover medical expenses for non-work-related injuries but the high majority does not cover loss of income or wages in any way.
Both government and private disability policies are available. Qualification requirements vary for each, and both private and government coverage plans also have sub-categories of policy types. Short-term, long-term, individual and group plans are available. Conditions for new and pre-existing conditions also apply in various ways depending on the insurer, the severity of your disability and the state in which you live. Costs also vary based on:
- How much income is replaced.
- Length of time benefits are disbursed.
- Your medical history.
- Other factors.
Government vs. Private
Private and government disability insurance are available for qualified applicants. Government-sponsored supplemental disability insurance is provided by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits have extremely strict qualification requirements and take patience, time and effort to obtain for most people. Only applicants who qualify for the SSA Compassionate Allowances List receive expedited application processes. The approval wait time for the majority of applicants ranges from thirty days to several years, depending on denials, appeals and other complications.
Third-party disability insurance is sold on the private market and also the government-facilitated Health Care Marketplace. Many private plans have significantly fewer qualification requirements than SSDI. For example, qualifying for SSDI requires proof your disability rendered you unable to obtain employment ever again. Private plans, in contrast, generally require you to only prove you are unable to perform the same job you had prior to becoming disabled.
Individual vs. Group
Supplemental disability insurance policies are written either as individual or group plans. Group disability plans are purchasable through your employer. Individual plans are purchasable on the open market and/or Health Care Marketplace. If you have group disability insurance through your employer and lose or change your job, your insurance is canceled. Group plans cover you regardless of your condition, however, whereas numerous individual plans have limitations based on pre-existing conditions. Group coverage is commonly less expensive than individual plans, but individual plans often have more coverage benefits.
New & Pre-Existing Conditions
Most private disability policies are underwritten with clauses to limit or restrict coverage for pre-existing conditions. For example, if your spine is injured in an accident but you also have a history of degenerative disc disease your insurance might cover none of only some of the expenses for treatment. Some pre-existing condition clauses allow for the expiration of limits/restrictions if you endure a specified length of time without further issues, exacerbations or filing any claims pursuant to your pre-existing condition(s).
Private insurers do not necessarily subject new conditions/disabilities to the same amount of scrutiny as pre-existing ones. It is still common practice for insurance adjusters to connect new and old issues together in an attempt to avoid payouts, however. Therefore it is crucial to have all doctors involved with your case write letters specifically detailing the cause of your disability and differentiate between new and pre-existing conditions.
Short & Long Term Benefit Periods
Supplemental disability insurance plans are written either as short-term or long-term disability policies, with the latter also including permanent disabilities. What are the primary differences between the two? Short-term disability benefits periods commonly last up to six months, but also pay out a higher percentage of your lost wages. Long-term disability benefits periods might last twenty years or more, but typically pay out a lower percentage of your last wages, while also enforcing an elimination period prior to your benefits becoming active.
National Supplemental Disability Insurers
Guardian and Breeze are two top-rated supplement disability insurance companies competing for best overall in the 2021 market. Breeze offers a convenient fifteen-minute application-to-purchase period online. Coverage options start as low as $9/month and most plans do not require medical examinations for enrollment. Breeze is a relatively new online-only insurer but its plans are underwritten by Assurity, which has been in business since 1890. Breeze policies include guaranteed insurability, supplemental DI, residual disability benefit riders and automatic benefits increase for a large variety of industries and vocations.
Guardian is popular for its large variety of coverage options in all fifty U.S. states. Guardian has been in business since 1860 and is a highly rated and trusted insurer. Coverage options include short-term, long-term supplemental, student loan protection and individual plans. No medical examinations are required to purchase supplemental insurance through Guardian and online quotes are provided quickly for all policy types. Guardian specializes in ensuring professionals, but quality plans for blue-collar and self-employed workers are also provided. What are some other national supplement disability insurers and the types of plans they specialize in offering?
- Mutual of Omaha (best for short-term plans & rider offers).
- Principal Financial Group (best for no medical examination requirements).
- TheStandard (best non-cancelable policies & high lost-wage payouts).
- MassMutual (best for retirement protection & customizable policies).
- Northwestern Mutual (best for long-term plans & specialty coverage for doctors & dentists).