After almost 20 years of practice, my friend, John*, became a well-respected Ob/Gyn. He had become an expert in DaVinci robotic surgery. In addition to performing it on his own patients, he travelled the country demonstrating the benefits of DaVinci and training others to use it.
During his down time, John loved to fish and watch his kids enjoy water activities. We spent many days each summer soaking in the sun and unhooking Walleye and Northern Pike and Crappies.
John is “retired” now, forced into by the age of 50 due to Multiple Sclerosis or MS. His disability progressed quickly before stabilizing, but it took away his ability to operate DaVinci. His gait changed and he became less stable. Not only could he not work, his fishing is far less frequent than it used to be.
As tragic as John’s situation is, it could have been far worse. John worked for an employer who valued its people enough to offer a strong group long-term disability or LTD plan. Since John met the requirements for benefits (and there’s no current cure for MS to allow him to recover), 60% of his salary is replaced until he’s eligible for full Social Security benefits.
Like all group LTD, however, there’s a maximum benefit that is far below John’s pre-disability earnings. John had a good neighbor and friend, however, who showed him the value of insuring the risk that his employer didn’t. The individual policy that John bought “covers the gap” and nearly 70% of all of John’s pre-disability earnings have been replaced.
His children have been able to attend college. He’s kept his home. And while John wishes every day that he could see patients (and fish!), he sleeps better at night knowing his financial foundation is solid.
*Not his real name.