As an orthodontist, you likely do everything that you can to protect your income. This is especially true if you own your practice and do not have anyone to fall back on if you become ill or get injured in some way that leaves you unable to work.
Having a short-term disability insurance policy in place is one step you can take to protect yourself and improve your income so that you’ll be covered in case something happens that leaves you unable to work.
What is Short-Term Disability Coverage?
For business owners, short-term disability is important coverage to not only protect their own income but also that of their employees. Short-term disability covers a variety of illnesses and injuries that could leave you unable to work for a period of time. Short-term disability coverage does not usually replace the full amount of your income but can replace a portion of it to allow you to continue paying your bills. The coverage is sometimes offered by employers, but if you own your practice, it becomes your responsibility to purchase it for yourself and to make the decision about whether or not you will offer it to your employees. The U.S. Social Security Administration has a lot of information about short-term disability and where it could fit into your life.
Coverage provided by your short-term disability policy can be used for a variety of expenses as long as they would typically be covered by your regular income. This can include things like your personal financial obligations, your utility payments, and even your housing payment. Short-term disability covers only your lost income and will not cover the income your business loses as a result of you being unable to work. To ensure your business is covered, you may want to consider a business continuity policy. Many orthodontists purchase both types of policies to ensure they and their business are covered.
Short-Term Disability for Orthodontists
You likely don’t see your daily job as one that comes with a lot of risks, but there are some risks associated with being an orthodontist. You are exposed to the public (your patients) daily and you come into contact with the potential for disease and are at risk for injuries. Orthodontists put themselves at risk for eye injuries, injuries as a result of equipment, and even injuries from patients.
The risk of illness became especially apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic when orthodontists realized how much time they spend very close to people and in a way that makes it even easier for disease transmission to happen. As an employee, if you are injured or become ill as a result of your work, you will likely be covered by worker’s compensation. But, as an owner, you may not be covered and could need a short-term disability policy (or something like overhead disability insurance).
Another major difference in coverage is that short-term disability policies could also cover you if you are injured or become ill while you’re not on the job. Short-term disability could be used if you contract COVID or another illness that leaves you out of commission for a long period of time. It can also help if you are injured and you know you will not be able to work or you will not be able to perform your job duties as you typically would. In some instances, depending on your policy, short-term disability may even cover you if you become pregnant!
As a practice owner, you may also be considering group coverage for your employees. This coverage is a way to offer a benefit that your employees can use and may help protect them in the event that they are injured or become ill. Group policies can be purchased for the entire office and you can choose to pay for them in a variety of ways. You may want to purchase a policy and offer it as a free benefit to your employees or you may want to split the cost in some way. Either way, this is an attractive benefit that is not as common as something like health insurance coverage.
As an employer, it may be your responsibility to cover your employees. There are at least Five states that require you to offer short-term disability coverage to your employees. Each of them has different requirements and laws so make sure that you are familiar with the coverage requirements in your state before purchasing a policy. An insurance expert will be able to help you any questions that have.
Not all short-term disability policies are going to provide the same amount of coverage and be able to protect you in the same way. It’s important to learn about your policy and make sure that you are not underinsured so that you’ll be able to afford your financial obligations if something happens to you. Even if you purchased a policy when you first started your practice or you have had the same policy for a long time, it’s a wise decision to regularly review the policy. Make sure that it will still cover your expenses in comparison with your income and update the policy if needed by purchasing additional coverage.
The pandemic has made illness front of mind for people around the world. You may be wondering if your short-term disability would cover it if you contracted COVID. Review your policy to make sure that it covers pandemic-related diseases.
By not having a short-term disability policy, you could leave yourself (and your staff) exposed to financial difficulties as a result of illness or injury. It’s important to not leave your income up to chance.
Working alongside Loyall Group, you will learn about the different options you have for short-term disability. To learn more about short-term disability, contact us.