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The primary difference between short-term and long-term disability insurance for resident physicians can be found in the elimination (waiting) periods and the length of time benefits are payable. But, it's also important to note that each coverage may have other significant differences in language and/or definitions of disability.
Short-term disability insurance for medical residents often contain elimination periods of 14 to 30 days and will pay either a stated amount or around 50% to 70% of your residency stipend. Benefit periods are typically between 90 and 180 days.
Long-term disability insurance for resident physicians generally has elimination periods of 90 to 180 days and, once again, might pay a stated income level or a percentage of your stipend.
Should your medical school or employer offer both programs – or if you are going to purchase individual coverage while in residency – it is important that both plans be coordinated. For example, it makes little sense to have a benefit period of 180 days after a 30 day elimination period (short-term policy) and a 60 day elimination period with benefits payable up to 5 years (long-term policy) covering you at the same time. As you can see, the elimination (waiting) periods are mismatched and could be a source of confusion when claims are filed. This condition becomes more convoluted if the benefit amounts differ with each type of disability insurance.
Try to match your elimination period and benefit payment term with short-term disability coverage and your long-term disability insurance for medical residents so you are sufficiently protected and are not paying for benefits that you cannot use.
Refer to your insurance policy contract for specific information regarding your coverage and for actual terms, conditions and exclusions. The above statements are general in nature and may or may not reflect the actual terms of your insurance policy.