Mental Illnesses and Disability Insurance
People’s mental and nervous conditions, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, may hinder them from working (Nabity 2017a). Colin Nabity, “CEO and Founder of LeverageRx,” states, “Studies show mental illness is prevalent among physicians and dentists” (2017b). Additionally, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states that “One in five adults will experience some type of mental illness,” “Roughly one in 25 adults live with a serious/chronic mental illness,” and “75 percent of all serious/chronic mental illnesses symptoms become evident by age 24” (“What those with mental health concerns should know about short-term disability” 2017). Disability insurance policies’ limit or even exclude mental and nervous disabilities, but doctors can still secure their benefits.
Long-term and short-term disability insurance contain their caveats. Long-term disability insurance usually limits their benefits for mental illnesses within a certain timeframe, such as 24 months (Haney 2016). This policy may benefit “patients suffering serious ongoing illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and clinical depression,” unlike private short-term disability insurance policies, which may pay for long-lasting mental illness for 24 months, but may stop “much sooner depending on the policy features selected at time of purchase” (Haney 2016). Regarding limitations, Nabity states, “One reason benefits are limited is that mental disorders are considered more treatable than certain physical disabilities. The inability to walk or see is likely permanent, and therefore constitutes long-term disability payments. Depression and other mental conditions, on the other hand, can often be managed with medication and counseling. In the view of insurance companies these types of conditions do not necessitate a permanent claim of disability” (2017b). Additionally, private short-term policies exclude “temporary acute episodes of mental illnesses such as situational stress, depression, and anxiety” (Haney 2016). These policies could still benefit patients who take psychotropic drugs that “have potentially serious side effects that could impair a person’s ability to work” (“What those with mental health concerns should know about short-term disability” 2017).
Doctors must take steps to receive their benefits. They must provide their medical records, documentation, and diagnosis of the mental illness from a physician in order to show that the mental illness hinders them from working (“Disability Insurance And Mental Health”). Doctors may have to visit “a mental illness specialist approved by [the disability insurance company]…” (“Disability Insurance And Mental Health”). To better one’s chances to receive benefits, doctors should add an own-occupation provision, which “means disability benefits will be paid if you cannot perform the duties of your own dental specialty, even if you can work elsewhere in the profession” (Nabity 2017b). They should also get a residual disability clause because it “can supplement the income of a disabled person who is still working and not considered to be totally disabled” (Nabity 2017b).
Despite the limitations and conditions needed to obtain benefits for mental illnesses, disability insurance could help those with mental illnesses remain financially stable.