Doctor Disability: Headache Disability Claim
A major insurer just settled a $40,000 per month disability claim that had been held up over questions about the nature of the disabling condition—headaches. The professional, who earned about $1 million a year in her practice, became unable to work as the result of chronic headaches. She filed for disability income protection under her employer’s group disability insurance policy and was approved.
The case brings to light one of the problems doctors face when confronted with disabling pain: How can you “prove” that you are impaired by pain that has no documented disease or injury associated with it? The claimant must document in detail the limitations caused by the pain. If there are secondary disorders, such as sleeping disorders or vision problems, those should be catalogued as well. Medical records regarding symptoms, diagnoses and treatments will also be needed, and the claimant must understand what the insurer requires as proof of disability.
Not all headaches qualify as disabilities, so it’s critical to establish the validity of disabling pain and justify benefits since physicians who continue to practice under such an impediment are a professional catastrophe just waiting to happen. Chronic pain can be distracting and even disorienting. It can reduce reaction times, concentration and physical capabilities to carry out duties. A physician or other medical professional must have confidence that they can speak up in such a situation, be relieved of duties where an impairment would cause risk, and still receive income protection.
Physicians income protection can be assured by good disability insurance, either a group or an individual policy. Even if a CT scan or an MRI is normal, chronic intense head pain can occur, and medical providers with uncontrolled headaches may need to step down from patient care during their episodes. That may mean moving to other duties or ending their practice altogether. In any case, there could be a substantial loss of income.
A policy that covers partial disability or own-occupation impairment can step in at that point, even if the lost income is very high, as in the example above. It’s all a matter of getting the right physician income protection insurance at the outset. The professionals at Doctor Disability can help. We offer group disability insurance for medical practices, clinics, hospitals, surgical centers and many other medical professional groups. We also provide individual doctors disability coverage for sole practitioners or those whose employers don’t offer a group policy. For more information, contact us at 866-899-7318.