Breaking Down Visas

5 minute read

Last week we received this message: "Few people (even in the insurance industry!) know the link between the visa requirements of international medical graduates and how it is tied to the usefulness of disability insurance.

Visa’s on their own are complicated enough, then throwing it into the mix with a topic like disability insurance can be overwhelming. We understand the frustration and lack of clarity on disability insurance while on VISA which is why we are breaking it down for you.

Nearly 20% of medical professionals are on some type of VISA. Which can sometimes add an extra hoop to jump through when it comes to insurance. So how does your VISA affect your disability insurance policy or the process of getting a policy?

In this blog post, we are going to cover the most frequently asked questions about visas, including:

Applying for Disability Insurance While on VISA

One of the most common questions we get asked is “Can I still get disability insurance if I am on VISA?’ The answer is yes!

We have worked with doctors on J1, H1b visas, and other unique VISA types as well. Being on a VISA does not disqualify you from protecting your income by getting a disability insurance policy. We have full own-occupation policies available for visa holders.

During the application process, there may be a few additional questions to answer, however, this will not hinder your application or your ability to get a policy.

Policy Modifications for VISA Holder

The biggest way that your VISA status could affect your disability insurance policy is through the benefit payment. When becoming disabled, the insurance company will pay you your benefit amount.

70% of disabilities are classified as “Partial Disabilities” meaning you are not fully disabled and are still able to work, it just may cause you to work less or move into a different specialty. If you become partially disabled and you are on VISA, you will still receive your partial disability benefit as you will continue to work in the U.S.

The second type of disability is totally or permanently disabled. This would disqualify you from being able to practice medicine. Most likely if you are on a work VISA this inability to work would eliminate your VISA causing you to return to your home country. If this is the case, most disability insurance companies will continue to pay you your full benefit amount, even if you reside outside of the U.S.

Something to keep in mind is most insurance companies will not pay a claim if you become disabled outside of the United States until you return to U.S. to complete your elimination period and file your claim.

Policy Features for VISA Status Holders

When purchasing a disability insurance policy, it is always a good idea to look at features and benefits (which are basically add ons to your policy) that may help you in the future. If you are a VISA holder, here are a few good options to add on to your policy.

Residual/Partial Disability Rider: This rider allows you to receive a percentage of the benefit equal to the percentage of income you have lost from the partial disability. As we discussed above, this is crucial to VISA holders to ensure that you will receive that partial benefit amount.

Non-Cancelable Rider: A non-cancelable rider makes sure that the disability insurance companies can’t raise your premiums as long as you are paying them.

Guaranteed Renewable Rider: The guaranteed renewable rider prevents the disability insurance companies from changing your policy terms (like the benefit amount) or canceling the policy itself, as long as you continue with your payments.

Catastrophic Disability Rider: Another rider that can be important for physicians to have is the catastrophic disability rider. This rider provides additional benefit to your base benefit should you become catastrophically disabled.

Ensuring that you, your family, and your income are protected while on VISA is very important. If you are ready to get started with your policy, fill out a quote request here.

Otherwise, if you have any other questions, feel free to reach out, we are always here to help you!