I am often surprised at the level of coverage (or lack of coverage) major employers provide in their long-term disability policies. Of course, companies are entitled to select the type of coverage they offer, but some policies are so thin, it seems that there should be some disclosure warning their employees.

The quality of long-term disability policies vary, and the policy itself can be difficult for non-lawyers to understand. An average person may not know the significance of terms like "objective medical evidence" or "own occupation/any occupation rollover." Just a few words can be the difference between a great policy or a sub-standard one. Often, human resource employees won't know the difference.

I recently reviewed the group long-term disability policy for nurses at Inova's Fairfax Hospital. Unfortunately, this is a grade C- plan and nurses at Inova would be better off purchasing their own private policy to supplement this cheap one.What grade does your long-term disability policy get?

The biggest problem? It protects the employee if they become disabled and cannot perform the duties of a nurse for only one year! If you are permanently disabled, you can only expect benefits payments near your previous income for a year. After that, your long-term disability policy may only pay a fraction of your nursing income. If the insurance company believes you can perform the duties of any occupation, your disability coverage will be terminated.

Even in "basic" policies provided this type of protection for at least two years. Our recommendation to Inova Nurses would be to examine the group plan, figure out what long-term disability protection you really need, and shop for it in the open, individual, market.

If your employer provides you with long-term disability coverage, you can send your policy to BenGlassLaw to learn more about your coverage. You may be surprised at what you discover.

Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney
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