According to the National Institute of Health, a little over one in three men and women (39.5%) are expected to be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetimes. Although the NIH also found that the cancer fatality rate has dropped over 27%, it can still be an extremely devastating, debilitating condition to reckon with, both physically and psychologically, and both for patients and their loved ones. Unfortunately, oncologists aren’t invulnerable to this mortality either. Whether it stems from one of the diseases they treat or another unfortunate predicament, an illness or injury could pull them away from their work, either temporarily or permanently.
The fundamental purpose of disability insurance is to serve as income protection in the event that you’re unable to bring in income. Injury, physiological illness, and mental illnesses are all things that could negatively impact a person’s ability to work, and subsequently, their ability to sustain themselves. Even if your career is only temporarily being placed on hold, your bills, taxes, and income won’t be on hold. That’s why it’s critical that you don’t hesitate to claim your disability benefits. You can do that by sending a claim through the appropriate channels (email, mail, fax, phone, or the insurance company site), and that claim should include detailed statements from you, your employer, and your general care physician.
When selecting a plan, you should make sure that it accommodates your disability, has a brief waiting period, and only covers the benefit period you need. You don’t want to wind up overpaying longer than you need to, nor paying for a plan that won’t actually support you. “All occupation” plans, for instance, will only provide you benefits if you’re unable to work any job. As an oncologist, you likely know far too well how randomly and unpredictably tragedy can strike.
Although we’d prefer to believe that it can never happen to us, nothing ever gives us 100% immunity from the unthinkable, which is why it’s so crucial to have a backup plan in case the unthinkable becomes thinkable. Working or not working, you’ll still need a reliable way to pay for sustenance, shelter, utilities, healthcare, and whatever other expenditures you have to cover for you and perhaps your loved ones. Disability insurance benefits offer that reliability and lessen some of the burden from the precarity that your illness or injury will bring.
Ferrin v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 336 F. Supp. 3d 910 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 28, 2018) (holding insurance policy’s grant of discretionary authority is void under Texas law due to certificate being issued after effective date of regulation, and policy renewing after effective date, and holding Plaintiff was disabled from Any Reasonable Occupation where treating doctors certify she can sit at the occasional level, and insurer’s consultants opine Plaintiff can sit frequently, as weighing all evidence together would make capacity likely at low end of frequent range at best).
Sadowski v. Tuckpointers Local 52 Health & Welfare Trust, 281 F. Supp. 3d 710 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 20, 2017) (holding plan was arbitrary and capricious in denying medical benefits for removal of spinal cord stimulator following a fall down the stairs and infection where plan argued the expenses were caused by the same injury as the car accident necessitating implantation of the stimulator years earlier)
Tassone v. United of Omaha Life Ins. Co., 264 F. Supp. 3d 867 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 30, 2017) (awarding client long term disability benefits denied by United of Omaha despite insurer’s doctor opining there was no objective evidence of functional impairment)
Suson v. PNC Fin. Servs. Grp., Inc., No. 15-CV-10817, 2017 WL 3234809 (N.D. Ill. July 31, 2017) (holding Liberty Mutual’s denial of client’s long term disability benefits was arbitrary and capricious where Liberty Mutual disregarded client’s carpal tunnel syndrome and relied on a vocational opinion to which client never had an opportunity to address before litigation)
What if your disability insurance doesn’t offer that reliability? What if it isn’t offering you sufficient support? What then? You’ve helped fight others’ debilitating conditions before, so why should you have to fight yours alone? At Bartolic Law, we handle all sorts of ERISA litigation disputes, including short and long term coverage, benefits discrimination, interference claims, overpayment and more. If you or someone you know is a Chicago-area oncologist dealing with any one of the above, we can help. Get in touch with us today to learn more and schedule a free consultation!