The following has been created to help you better understand how the Essentials Disability Income Insurance policy works in order to help you make an informed purchase decision.

Product Specific Questions

I’ve been told by my financial advisor that the “Your Occupation” definition of disability used in the Essentials disability income policy ends when I turn 45. Is this true?

No. The Essentials disability income policy is non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable to age 65, or five policy years if later, depending on the state of issue. The “Your Occupation” definition of disability in the Essentials disability income policy is only available to new applicants that are between the ages of 18 and 45.* However, once the policy has been issued, the insurance carrier cannot change any of the policy provisions or premiums until the end of the non-cancelable and guaranteed renewable period. If the policyholder increases his or her benefit, there will be an additional premium associated with the benefit increase.

As a physician your job is highly specialized. It is therefore important to ensure that you have a disability policy that may pay you benefits, even if you are able to work in a different occupation.

* Not available in California.

Through another insurance carrier, I was informed that my occupational class as a radiologist is 5I. But the Essentials disability income application says I’m a 5S. Is this correct? If so, why would it be different from other insurance carriers?

Occupational classes can be defined differently by carriers. With MetLife, for instance, radiologists are classified as a 5S but another carrier may consider them a 5I. Therefore, it is important to understand the provisions of each carrier’s policy, including the definition of total disability – not just how they define occupational classes.

I’ve reviewed the material and compared the Essentials disability income policy to other disability products I’m considering. How can this product be offered with limited medical underwriting?

By leveraging the buying power of America’s residents & fellows, Essentials is able to provide an individual disability income policy at competitive rates. The program provides a non-cancelable policy that allows you to lock in rates, plus it utilizes a simplified application process with no intrusive or time consuming medical exams – yet still offers lower rates than typical MetLife fully underwritten policies.

However, there is a limited time period by which you must enroll. The open-enrollment period for the Essentials Disability Income Insurance program is from November 1 through December 1, 2012. In addition, the benefit amount has been pre-determined at $5,000 per month (although there is a future increase option available to purchase an additional benefit of $2,500 per month).

* The amount of benefit for which you are eligible may be reduced by the amount of other individual disability income coverage you have inforce.

My financial advisor didn’t tell me about the Essentials disability income policy – I found out about it through a fellow resident. My advisor is very experienced and has an impeccable reputation in our community. If Essentials is a legitimate product, why wouldn’t my advisor offer it to me?

Only financial advisors who are associated with the AMA Insurance Agency’s Physicians Financial Partners program are authorized to market the Essentials disability income policy. If your local advisor isn’t associated with Physicians Financial Partners, they are not authorized to market the Essentials policy – which is likely why you didn’t hear about it from them. The Physicians Financial Partners program offers physicians access to locally vetted financial professionals – screened by the AMA Insurance Agency. To learn more about the Physicians Financial Partners program visit www.pfpprogram.com.

The rates for the Essentials disability income policy seem competitive. Are these rates guaranteed?

The program provides a non-cancelable policy that allows you to lock in rates, so the rates will not increase until age 65, or five policy years if later (depending on the state of issue). This means that, as long as you pay the premium on time, the premium rate cannot be increased until the first premium due date on or after your 65th birthday, or on the fifth policy anniversary if later.*

*If you increase your benefit amount under the program, there will be an additional premium associated with the increased benefit.

I’m intrigued with the Essentials disability income policy, but think I’d be better served purchasing a product from another carrier that offers higher benefit amounts. Is there a reason I should still consider Essentials?

To secure higher benefit amounts in a disability income policy you would typically have to purchase a fully underwritten policy. This would likely require the completion of a thorough questionnaire regarding the status of your health, a medical exam, as well as submission of financial documentation that could include your tax returns. The Essentials product provides an alternative to that process – yet still provides a comparable individual disability income policy, with extremely competitive rates. For those interested in higher benefit amounts, you might consider purchasing two policies – especially if the rates associated with the policy you’re currently considering are more expensive than the Essentials product.

I’ve been told by my financial advisor that if I’m healthy, a fully underwritten disability policy is always better than one that doesn’t require underwriting (no medical exams). So wouldn’t a fully underwritten policy from another carrier be better than the Essentials disability income policy?

The Essentials policy is the same type of individually owned policy one would purchase through a financial advisor licensed to sell insurance, except the underwriting is much more limited in scope. Prior to the introduction of the Essentials product, these limited underwritten policies were generally only offered as an optional, supplemental benefit through an employer. However, by leveraging the buying power of America’s residents & fellows, Essentials is able to provide a non-cancelable individual disability policy with competitive rates and limited underwriting. This is what makes Essentials unique. You can now receive some of the benefits of a fully underwritten policy, e.g., a “Your Occupation” definition of disability,* with simplified underwriting that does not require intrusive or time consuming medical exams.

As a physician your job is highly specialized. It is therefore important to ensure that you have a disability policy that may pay you benefits, even if you are able to work in a different occupation.

*Issue ages 18 – 45. Not available in California.

What is different about the Essentials Disability Income policy and the coverage that is being offered by my local financial advisor?

The most significant difference between Essentials for Physicians and the coverage offered by your local advisor is the limited underwriting nature of the policy. To obtain similar benefits through a local advisor you would likely have to go through both financial underwriting and full medical underwriting, which may include medical exams and long form applications.

What definition of disability is used in the Essentials Disability Income policy?

Essentials for Physicians uses a “Your Occupation” definition of disability,* meaning that if you cannot perform the material and substantial duties of your occupation at the time of claim and you are under the appropriate care of a physician, full disability benefits will be paid even if you can work in another occupation. As a physician your job is highly specialized. It is therefore important to ensure that you have a disability policy that may pay you benefits, even if you are able to work in a different occupation.

*Issue ages 18 – 45. Not available in California.

Why is disability insurance coverage so important for physicians?

You would still have to meet your financial obligations if you are no longer able to earn an income due to a disability. Such obligations may include re-paying student loans, a mortgage, or providing for loved ones.

In addition, as a physician your job is highly specialized. It is therefore important to ensure that you have a disability policy that may pay you benefits, even if you are able to work in a different occupation.

What if my employer offers disability insurance as an employee benefit?

If your employer also offers disability insurance, you should review your coverage to ensure the benefits provided are appropriate for your needs should you become disabled and are no longer able to earn an income.

You can contact an Essentials representative to assist you with comparing the coverage provided by your employer and the Essentials disability program by calling 866.717.8029.

Will other earnings received while disabled prevent me from receiving benefits?

If you meet the definition of total disability under the “Your Occupation” rider,* income you receive from another occupation while you are disabled will not reduce the benefit payable under the Essentials policy. As a physician your job is highly specialized. It is therefore important to ensure that you have a disability policy that may pay you benefits, even if you are able to work in a different occupation.

*Issue ages 18 – 45. Not available in California.

What happens if I am partially disabled?

The Essentials disability income policy contains a Residual Disability rider (Partial Disability rider in California). This benefit feature can allow you to receive a partial disability benefit, under certain conditions, if a partial disability causes you to lose at least 20% of your earnings.

Like most disability income insurance policies, MetLife’s policies contain certain exclusions, waiting periods, reductions, limitations and terms for keeping them in force. Ask your representative about costs and complete details.

All policies and riders may not be available in all states, at all issue ages and to all occupational classes. Eligibility is subject to underwriting approval.

For policies issued in New York: These policies provide disability income insurance only. They do NOT provide basic hospital, basic medical or major medical insurance as defined by the New York State Insurance Department. The expected benefit ratio for these polices is at least 50%. This ratio is the portion of future premiums that MetLife expects to return as benefits when averaged over all people with the applicable policy.

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General Questions

What is the Essentials Program and how can it benefit me as a young physician?

Essentials is a suite of products offered through Physicians Financial Partners and is designed to provide products and services tailored specifically to young physicians. Products available include Disability Insurance, Loan Payoff Protection, and Term Life Insurance. Essentials leverages the national buying power of young physicians and combines your need for protection with a process that appreciates the value of your time.

What is the Physicians Financial Partners program?

The Physicians Financial Partners program is offered through AMA Insurance Agency, Inc (AMAIA) and Millennium Brokerage Group, LLC. The program is designed to provide physicians with: 1) access to local financial professionals vetted by AMAIA, 2) access to a full suite of financial products, many with physician-specific benefits, and 3) access to tools and resources to help cultivate informed decisions about relevant financial matters.

Is this program available to all Physicians?

Essentials products are available to finishing residents, fellows, and physicians in their first few years of their career. If you are a young physician and have questions please contact us at the numbers below.

Questions about Essentials Disability Income Insurance: 855.228.9271

General Questions about Essentials and Products and Services Offered, contact Physicians Financial Partners: 866.717.8029

General Enrollment Questions

What if I forgot my PIN #?

Your unique PIN number can be found in your Essentials Disability Income Insurance enrollment packet and in Essentials announcement materials that were sent to you in the mail. If you do not have these materials, please feel free to contact 855.228.9271 and provide your name and date of birth to obtain your PIN#.

How can I enroll?

You can start your enrollment online by going to the homepage of this website and entering your PIN#. You will be taken to the MetLife My Benefits website to view your quote and complete your enrollment. Additionally, you may contact a licensed representative at 855.228.9271 to answer enrollment questions and walk you through the enrollment process.

Disability Insurance Questions

Why should I seriously consider Essentials Disability Income Insurance?

Essentials Disability Income Insurance offers many great benefits to young physicians throughout the country. There are many important features involved in disability insurance coverage particularly for physicians.

  • Your Occupation Definition of Disability built into policy – no need for additional riders1
  • Not a group policy – You OWN it so it goes with you wherever you go
  • Discounted premiums2
  • $5000 monthly benefit with the option to increase after 6 months3
  • Underwritten by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife) – a name you know
How long does it take to Enroll?

To enroll in the Essentials Disability Income Insurance Program, you only need to fill out a few simple forms. Should you have any questions or concerns regarding how to enroll, please call 855-228-9271

When is the enrollment deadline?

Enrollment is only for a limited time: November 1, 2012 – December 1, 2012

How do I pay for my policy?

After you enroll you will receive a secure email with a form to establish electronic payment of premium. Once you complete and submit the form, your information will be securely transmitted to MetLife who will arrange for monthly electronic premium drafts. For your convenience, all premiums will be automatically drafted monthly starting July 1, 2012.4

What is the effective date of my policy?

If you enroll during the enrollment period and are approved for coverage, your policy will be effective January 1, 2013.