Residents and Med Students: Dealing with the Threat of Disability

As a medical student or resident, you’re probably not thinking about how a serious injury or illness could affect your ability to practice medicine. You’re young, healthy and can’t wait to become a full-time family physician. It hasn’t occurred to you that if suddenly you were unable to treat your patients for an extended period of time, how you would pay the bills. You may feel invincible, but the threat of disability is still a very real possibility. And with high debt loads from student loans, you could be in the midst of a financial crisis if you aren’t adequately prepared.

Did you know that the average worker has a one-in-three risk of being unable to work for six months or more during their career due to an injury or illness? Young doctors are no exception. And with average monthly payments of $1,129 from social security to disabled workers, you may need to find other means of financial support. We asked a number of residents and med students at the AAFP National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students “If you were unable to practice medicine for a long period of time due to an injury or illness, how would you pay the bills?” Some considered getting a second job in order to make ends meet. Luckily, there were those who were aware of the benefits of having disability income insurance as a financial security blanket in case anything was to happen.

If you’re applying to a residency program and your employer offers disability insurance, read the small print to ensure that you have the proper levels of coverage.

To help give you a better visualization of how important it is to have disability insurance, refer to our infographic on how family physicians are vulnerable to the threat of disability.


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AAFP Insurance Services
Attn: Policyholder Services
PO Box 7470
Leawood, KS 66207-0470

(800) 325-8166

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