Really? This doesn't exist?
March 26, 2013 12:10 PM   Subscribe

I am an individual looking to purchase my own short term disability policy. Details within.

I start a new job Ono, but the company does not offer short term disability coverage or the ability to purchase. I'm in Massachusetts.

I am trying to find short term disability insurance to potentially cover:

1) if I get pregnant and have. Baby in the next 5 years - what I exceed the maternity leave period? I wan protection after that, where normally short term disability would kick in.

2) I'm an athlete, and shit happens. I want to be covered just in case.

3) shit happens.

I've called Aflac, SBLI, Met Life, Amica....all who said this doesn't exist. Really? Is this true? Any other options that anyone can think of for insurance/income protection?
posted by floweredfish to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ono = soon. Damn you, iPad.

And, gah! Sorry for all the typos!
posted by floweredfish at 12:11 PM on March 26, 2013

I googled "short term disability insurance" and this was the top result:

But I would also ask you how long you're looking to purchase it for? If it's just six months, for example, maybe it makes more sense to just save up that much money as your emergency fund.
posted by ethidda at 12:15 PM on March 26, 2013

I found that too and called them. I am looking for a 5 year/income protection plan. Certainly not something so short term that it would seem like a better option to save
posted by floweredfish at 12:17 PM on March 26, 2013

I researched this too as part of determining whether to stay home with our first child, and I couldn't find any company that offered it. Not saying it doesn't exist, but I crossed it off as not available.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 12:27 PM on March 26, 2013

Ahhhh, the elusive individual STD policy.

What you are finding is my experience as well.

Do you have a trusted insurance agent (who is not captive to one carrier)? Have you contacted him/her? That was the only way I was able to get a quote.

I did find a MetLife product that was a term life policy coupled with a long-term disability product. But LTD and STD are different animals.

Aflac may be an option. Aflac sells both individual STD policies as well as group STD. You could ask your benefits rep at your new job if there is a regular Aflac sales agent and if not, would they be open to allowing one to come on campus and enroll.

If you are a member of AAA or another association--maybe a professional association?--try that, too.

It is probably going to be a better bet, though, to save your premiums and self-insure. For instance, for a vaginal delivery, a typical STD benefit would be 60% of your wage--for 6 weeks. For a C-section, it'd be 8 weeks. It is designed to be a stopgap for income replacement. The STD policies you will be quoted on, if you can find one, will be expensive. What's the point where you'd start to realize a benefit, after the exlusionary period, AND if you ever needed to make a claim on the policy?

Remember that not all products are offered in every state, and products change on a pretty regular basis.

Good luck.
posted by FergieBelle at 12:31 PM on March 26, 2013

Are you sure a combo of a long-term disability policy and emergency fund wouldn't suit your needs? I think of five years as being a long-term thing -- I think my company's ST policy maxes out at 3 or 6 months or something, at which time the LT policy kicks in.
posted by pie ninja at 12:31 PM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Yeah, if your employer doesn't offer it, this is the kind of thing you self-fund. Charge yourself "premiums" that you put aside into your "short-term disability insurance" savings account. If you pay $100 per month you'll have more than $6K in 5 years.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 12:42 PM on March 26, 2013

Short term disability is not for five years. That's long term. I have a single ltd plan through northwestern mutual insurance that starts paying after 90 days. To cover the gap I have savings. Aflac can help, but my understanding is that it must be, in some states, offered by the employer. This doesn't cost the employer anything if you pay for it, so sometimes it pays to ask?
posted by dpx.mfx at 1:14 PM on March 26, 2013

pie ninja and dpx.mfx: I think what she's saying is she's thinking of having a baby in 5 years -- not that she expects the coverage pay out for 5 years. She just wants something to extend her maternity leave, in that example.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:38 PM on March 26, 2013

Rabbit rabbit is spot on. I'm looking for a Policy that will cover me for, say, a month or two after maternity leave is maxed out. I'm assuming that 6 weeks may not be enough, unless I assume that everything goes well with no complications. My timeline To have kids (possibly) is in the next 5 years.
posted by floweredfish at 1:49 PM on March 26, 2013

I know that you also want other situations covered, but just for an extra two months after maternity, I think it's probably better if you save for it yourself. If you spend $4k/month, then you'd need $8k in savings. That's only $133/month, or 3.3% of your current living expenses. Surely you can cut your living expenses by 3.3%.

Also, in general, people advise a 3-6 month emergency fund (that's 3-6 months of how much it costs you to live, not how much you'd make). So if you have that in place anyway, you don't need short term disability.
posted by ethidda at 1:54 PM on March 26, 2013

the short answer: it's kind of like asking "really? no one wants to give me $100?" i'm sure it sounds like a good deal to you, but it's not really insurance.

it's an adverse selection problem. if you really want insurance for disability a short cap on the amount of time it would pay out would not be appealing. often when people became disabled its hard to tell when they will recover, if at all. so, why would you buy disability insurance that will only pay for 3-6 month when, if you do become disabled, you'll almost certainly be disabled for much longer than that? so if it's not very good insurance, why would anyone want to buy it? they want to buy it for the same reasons you do: they plan to only pay premiums for a short time and quickly take the benefit. there isn't really a way to make money off of selling that kind of insurance. of course they could set the premiums high enough to make it worth wile if a person actually bought the insurance, but the premium would be so high no one would actually want to buy it.
posted by cupcake1337 at 6:34 PM on March 26, 2013

This doesn't address your question directly, but I wonder if Massachusetts might treat maternity leave as unemployment? I know several women who had babies in New Jersey who received unemployment after they delivered their babies. I was amazed, and as a Pennsylvanian I was very, very jealous.
posted by citygirl at 8:58 PM on March 26, 2013

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