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ADA disability insurance review Nov 2020

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Dentists are eligible for reduced rates and a solid disability insurance program — and it’s free for dental students.

  • Get a quote if you’re enrolled or are a recent graduate of dental school and are considering ADA membership.
  • Pick something else if you want optimum coverage on your disability insurance plan.

No

Short term disability

Yes

Long term disability

Details

Benefit period Benefits are payable to age 67:
Or if you become disabled between ages 65 and 75, benefits are payable for 24 months.
Waiting period 30, 60, 90, or 180-day waiting periods
Coverage amount Males - $15,000/month
Females - $15,000/month
Individual credit Not offered
Available states All 50 states
Policy riders No info available
Simplified issue Not offered

Pros

  • Competitive rates
  • Membership benefits
  • True own-occupation coverage
  • Student disability coverage

Cons

  • Membership fees
  • Delayed waiver of premium
  • Catastrophic disability not available

Expert review

Andrew Flueckiger

Review by


Andrew Flueckiger is a licensed insurance agent and Certified Insurance Counselor with experience in insurance and finance. A graduate of Indiana University, Andrew contributes a wealth of knowledge and experience to Finder. When Andrew isn’t writing, reading or practicing insurance, he can be found spending time with his family and playing the guitar.

Expert review

If you’re a dentist or about to become one, it’s probably worth it to at least get a quote from ADA’s disability insurance program. Rates through the ADA’s program are likely to be cheaper compared to other insurance companies and membership comes with benefits beyond just insurance.

However, some common features in disability insurance plans are missing or lacking in the ADA’s plan, like a catastrophic disability benefit. Also, you’ll have to pay an annual membership fee to be eligible for disability benefits.

Before deciding on ADA disability insurance, it might be worthwhile to review and compare different disability insurance companies to find the best option for you.

What benefits does ADA offer?

  • Own-occupation definition. ADA’s disability policy has a true own-occupation definition, which means if you can’t work in your specialized area of dentistry due to a disability, you’ll receive benefits, even if you can work in another area of dental practice.
  • ADA membership benefits. In addition to disability insurance, ADA membership includes things such as payer concierge, industry guidelines, career advice, marketing materials, legal resources and student loan refinancing.
  • ADA discounted rates. ADA’s disability rates are typically lower than through a standard insurance company, though rates increase every five years when you hit a new age bracket.
  • Rehabilitation program. ADA offers an optional yet fully-paid rehabilitation program that includes both physical and occupational therapy.
  • Residual benefit. Continue to receive disability payments after you’ve returned to work on a part-time schedule.
  • Hospital waiver. Your disability payment will retroactively kick in from the first day of your hospital stay if you have an in-patient hospital visit that lasts at least five days.
  • Coverage available to age 75. Standard benefits are paid to age 67, but you’ll also be eligible for benefits for 24 months if you become disabled between the ages of 65 and 75.
  • Mental and nervous conditions. ADA’s disability coverage includes full benefits for mental and nervous disorders, and partial benefits for disabilities that are a result of alcohol and drug abuse.

What riders can I get with ADA?

  • Enhanced residual benefit. This rider makes both full and partial disability days count towards your waiting period, including if they aren’t consecutive. It also includes a broader definition of lost income, which means you might be able to collect benefits sooner.
  • Future increase option. Allows you to increase your benefit amount in the future without having to take a new medical exam.
  • Cost of living increase. This rider ensures that your benefit amount won’t be cut short based on a higher cost of living in the future.

What is the Provisional year?

The provisional year is a free first year of membership in the ADA. It begins automatically after you graduate from dental school. If you decide to join after the first year, you’ll also be eligible for a 50% fee reduction in your second year.

Pros and cons of ADA disability insurance

Pros

  • Competitive rates. ADA rates for disability insurance are likely going to be cheaper than any other disability insurance for dentists.
  • Membership benefits. You’re not signing up for disability insurance only, you’ll also have access to a wide range of resources that can help you manage and grow your practice.
  • True own-occupation coverage. This coverage lets you collect disability while performing some type of work in your practice. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to collect disability if you were able to do any type of work, even outside dentistry.
  • Student disability coverage. ADA offers a free disability plan for dental school students that pays up to $2,000 a month for 7 years and covers up to $150,000 in student loans.

Cons

  • Membership fees. Though the rates might be lower, you’ll have to pay the annual $565 membership fee to get a quote.
  • Delayed waiver of premium. Waiver of premium dates only begin on either May 1st or November 1st and only kick in after you’ve been disabled for six months, which means you could pay between six and 12 months of premium before getting this benefit.
  • Catastrophic disability not available. ADA’s plan doesn’t allow you to collect additional benefits if you have a disability that prevents you from being able to perform common daily living activities where other policies may offer this benefit.

Compare alternatives to ADA

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Coverage Amount Benefit period Waiting period Own Occupation Medical exam required
Prudential disability insurance
Short-term: $100–$3,000
Long-term: $300–$6,000
Short-term: 3, 6 or 12 months
Long-term: Up to ages 65, 67, or 70, or 2 or 5 years
Short-term: 30, 60 or 90 days
Long-term: 90, 180 or 365 days
No
Yes
MassMutual disability insurance
Not listed
2, 5 or 10 years or up to age 65, 67 or 70
60, 90, 180, 365 or 730 days
Yes
Yes
Guardian disability insurance
$500 to $20,000
2, 5 and 10 years to age 65, 67 and 70
30, 60, 90, 180, 365 or 720 days
Yes
Yes
Principal disability insurance
$400 to $20,000
Up to ages 65, 67, or 70, or 2 or 5 years
30, 60, 90, 180 or 365 days
No info available
Yes
Mutual of Omaha disability insurance
Simplified issue: $300–$4,000
Short-term: $300–$5,000
Long-term: $300– $20,000
Simplified issue: 12, 24 or 36 months
Short-term: 3, 6, 12 or 24 months
Long-term: 2, 5, or 10 years, or to age 65 or 67
Simplified issue: 30 days (injury) or 90 days (sickness)
Short-term: 0 (accident), 7, 14, 30, 60 or 90 days
Long-term: 60, 90, 180 or 365 days
No info available
No
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ADA disability insurance reviews and complaints

ADA’s disability insurance product is underwritten by Great West Financial, a Colorado-based company that’s part of the Great West Life & Annuity Company. When reviewing Great West, it has an A+ rating on the BBB’s website and has an A+ (excellent) rating with AM Best that signals strong financials. It also has an AA rating with both Standard & Poor’s and Fitch, as of October 2020.

However, there are some negative reviews on the internet about Great West’s customer service and claims handling, mainly on sites such as Free Advice’s website and Insureye’s website. There are also some attorney websites that specifically mention fighting disability claim denials from Great West.

How do I apply?

Before you can apply for ADA disability insurance, you’ll have to join as a member. You can join the ADA by applying online and paying the membership fee.

  1. Go to ADA’s website and select Join from the top menu.
  2. Choose the category you fall in, such as practicing dentist, postdoctoral resident, or practicing abroad.
  3. Choose the state that you’re located in.
  4. Enter your contact information and year of dental school graduation.
  5. Begin the online application.
  6. Or you can download a PDF application and mail it in.

Common questions about ADA disability insurance

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