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A female medical student, resident or fellow in a wheelchair benefiting from disability insurance.

Disability Insurance For Medical Students (The RBC Medical Student Offer)

Category 1: Cover needs

You don’t need scary statistics to know the absolute necessity of getting suitable disability insurance if you qualify (general information).

Your ability to earn an income is usually your most valuable financial asset. When you can’t work due to an illness or injury, what happens to your income? What happens to your personal and business expenses?

Your best strategy is to get protection while you’re a medical student, resident or fellow.

In addition, protect against other risks with:

Start small

You won’t qualify for much disability coverage (or other forms of insurance) today, reducing your costs now. The big advantage is that you can add more protection as your income increases — without medical underwriting. You provide proof of your income and pay for the increase in coverage based on your age at the time of election. That’s easier to afford because you have more income.

Disability insurance is difficult to get because:

  • Very few insurers offer personal coverage (Manulife stopped accepting new clients on Sep 30, 2022)
  • Very few advisors have specialized training since most focus on life insurance
  • Misconceptions prevail — especially regarding association/affinity/group long-term disability insurance from the Ontario Medical Association (see the FAQ about OMA Insurance later on this page)

Although we’re independent and offer products from different insurers, we recommend the Medical Student Offer from the leader in disability coverage, RBC Insurance.

The Medical Student Offer (MSO) from RBC Insurance

RBC Insurance is by far the largest provider of disability insurance to doctors and other Canadians. With their Professional Series, you get solid guarantees. A special offer gives you even more.

Reminder: Since insurance offers and products change, we tailor options to your unique situation.

1. Introduction to the Medical Student Offer

2. Overview Of the Medical Student Offer

3. Why act now to take advantage of the Medical Student Offer?

Standard features in the RBC Professional Series disability insurance

You get many features built into the RBC Professional Series:

  • Tax-free benefits: receive tax-free monthly benefits up to age 65 after a set waiting period (90 days is typical; you choose the length when you apply. Shorter waiting periods have higher premiums, and longer waiting periods have lower premiums. 90 days offers a good balance of wait time and premium).
  • Guaranteed premium rates to age 65: your premium rates will not increase as you get older or if RBC Insurance has more claims than expected.
  • Non-cancellable: as long as you pay your premiums on time, RBC can’t change your policy or cancel your coverage.
  • Coverage beyond age 65: you have the contractual right to continue your coverage regardless of your health. The benefit period is reduced.
  • Conversion to long-term care insurance: you have the contractual right to elect long-term care insurance regardless of your health. You receive tax-free income for life if you have a cognitive impairment or are unable to perform two or more Activities of Daily Living.
  • Portable: you can keep your coverage wherever you are on earth.
  • Premiums waived during disability: After 90 days of disability, your premiums are waived while you remain disabled. You also receive a refund of premiums paid during those 90 days.
  • 10-day free look: you can cancel your coverage within 10 days of receiving the policy contract and receive a full refund

Recommended options for your disability insurance

  • Cost of Living Allowance: during a claim, your benefits increase by 2-10% annually based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
  • Disability In Your Occupation: receive benefits if you can’t do your regular work even if you can do other work (without this rider, you might not receive benefits in this scenario).

The special RBC Medical Student Offer (MSO)

RBC has a special offer for medical students, residents, fellows, and specialists. You get the RBC Professional Series of disability insurance with these benefits:

  • Simplified 4-page application form: you skip the longer, regular paperwork.
  • Financial underwriting waived: you don’t need to provide proof of your current income to justify the amount of coverage.
  • Simplified underwriting: you do not need a medical examination or to provide body fluids. You instead complete a health questionnaire to determine your eligibility. A 24-month pre-existing condition amendment applies.
  • Coverage for HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C: this is part of the included Health Care Profession benefit
  • Future Income Option included: As your income increases, you can increase your coverage annually regardless of your health. Your maximum tax-free benefit is $25,000 per month.
  • Discounts: save 25% on your premiums, including any future increases you elect with the optional Future Income Option (FIO) rider.
  • Premium holiday: after you get coverage the first time and pay your initial premium, RBC Insurance waives your premiums for 5-12 months:
    • Students: waived for 12 months
    • Residents and fellows: waived for 5 months

The amount of coverage you can apply for depends on whether you are a medical student, resident, fellow, specialist or general practitioner in your first year of practice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about disability insurance

If your question isn’t answered here, arrange a chat.

Who qualifies for the RBC Medical Student Offer?

This offer is for Canadian students:

  • Enrolled in a recognized Canadian medical school, residency or fellowship
  • Age 18-50
  • Not previously declined for this or any other disability coverage (could apply for a fully underwritten policy if that is the case)

If you’re not listed, don’t fret. You may still qualify for conventional disability insurance or the Student Savings Program.

How much coverage can I get?

The maximum amount of coverage you can apply for is shown in the table below:

Status1st Year2nd Year3rd Year4th YearResidency or Fellowship1st Year of Practice
Medical Students$2,000$2,000$3,000$4,500
Specialists$4,500$11,000 (increase via the one-time special FIO option)
General Practitioner$7,500 (apply during the first 6 months)
Coverage available without proof of income

If you are reaching a higher level within three months, you qualify for the limits in that next level now.

If you are a General Practitioner within the first six months of your first year of practice, you may qualify for $7,500 of benefits under the Student Savings Plan.

What is the 24/24 pre-existing condition amendment?

Insurance is designed to protect you from conditions that start in the future. Disability insurance usually permanently excludes claims from pre-existing conditions. The RBC Special Student Offer is more generous and adds a “24/24 pre-ex” amendment. The policy contract has specifics. Here is a simplified explanation.

Claims are not paid if all of the following apply:

  1. You had a pre-existing condition within 24 months before your coverage started, and
  2. Your disability is related to that pre-existing condition, and
  3. Your disability started within 24 months after your coverage started.

The amendment does not apply if:

  1. Your disability starts after your coverage has been in place for 24 months, or
  2. Your disability starts during the first 24 months of coverage, but:
    • There was no pre-existing condition during the 24 months before coverage started, or
    • There was a pre-existing condition, but your disability is not related to that pre-existing condition.

Is there a deadline to apply?

You must apply for the Medical Student Offer by the earlier of:

  • Day 90 after completing your residency or fellowship: sooner is better
  • September 30: Historically, a new program starts on October 1, with new criteria.

What if I already have disability coverage from an association or group?

During your residency, you may get some disability insurance through an association or group plan. Since that coverage is usually temporary, you may still be eligible for the full amount of personal coverage.

Should I wait to get disability insurance just before I graduate?

Waiting to get life or health insurance is risky. Your health can change at any time and prevent you from qualifying for coverage.

Since your premiums are based on your age, waiting costs you.

What about getting OMA Insurance instead?

You could get insurance from the Ontario Medical Association. While you’d help them, are you doing the best for yourself? You might find drawbacks if you value:

  • Independent advice
  • Guarantees

Here are questions to ask about OMA long-term disability insurance:

  1. Are your premium rates fully guaranteed? If not, why not? If not, are there any limits on premium increases?
  2. Are your definitions fully guaranteed? If not, why not?
  3. Can your coverage be cancelled? If so, under what conditions (besides nonpayment of premiums)?
  4. Do you receive a policy contract with written guarantees? If you only get a group certificate, the contract can be changed without your input or consent.
  5. If you change professions, what happens to your coverage?
  6. How does the OMA plan compare with the plans for doctors in Alberta and British Columbia?
  7. Does the OMA receive compensation, allowances or other incentives from the insurer?
  8. What are the main reasons that OMA members decline or cancel OMA long-term disability insurance?
  9. What is the premium tax rate?

Tip: Ask if the advisor personally has disability insurance.

Can I buy disability insurance on price?

Disability insurance is the most complex form of health insurance. You can’t buy on price — highest or lowest. Service and claims adjudication are essential considerations, but how can you decide? The contract definitions differ among companies.

Get personalized information about disability insurance

Would you like to understand your options for disability insurance and get answers to your questions?

To get help, select a convenient date/time for a video meeting. Afterwards, decide whether personal disability insurance is right for you. When you are ready, we complete your insurance e-application together. Afterwards, we monitor the progress of your application and keep you updated.

Tags: communities, disability insurance, disability risk, medical students, residents, fellows

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