4 Tips to Maximize Your Disability Benefits

By Scott Ruthstrom, FDA Services Chief Operating Officer

Dentists understand the importance of purchasing a quality disability income insurance policy, but are you ensuring you receive every dollar you’re eligible for? Not having enough disability income or saving a few bucks by passing on available options and riders can make a tremendous financial difference.  Should you fall victim to an accident or an extended illness, be sure you have your financial well-being fully protected.

1. Max out the total monthly amount you can financially qualify for.

Typically, disability insurance (DI) benefits are calculated as a percentage of your total gross income. One hundred percent of total gross income replacement is not available, so having the maximum benefit you are eligible for will help ensure that, in the event of a disability, you can maintain a lifestyle post-disability that is comparable to your pre-disability lifestyle. Even if you max out your benefits with one insurance company, you may be able to buy additional benefits through a second or even a third policy (depending on the amount of coverage in place already and your annual gross income).

2. Make sure your DI policy can grow with you.

Many carriers offer options/riders that allow you to increase your monthly benefit without having to retake medical exams or physicals; you only have to prove you qualify financially.

3. The fact is, one in three dentists will have a disability over the course of their career.

A dollar today is not what a dollar will be worth five, 10 or 20 years from now. A “cost-of-living adjustment” rider (COLA) is a great way to ensure your DI policy will be able to keep up with inflation. The COLA rider will adjust the monthly benefit each year while on a claim.

4. Since most disabilities are temporary in nature, purchasing a “residual disability” rider is vital.

This rider is designed to help offset the loss of income when returning to work following rehabilitation or recovery, as it could take months or even years to return to pre-disability income levels.


FDA Services is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Florida Dental Association (FDA). We strive to be the source for information about insurance for our member dentists. Revenue from insurance sales goes directly toward helping FDA programs and lobbying efforts that are important to members, and to keep dues at their lowest possible level.

Our experienced staff is ready to get to work for you — call or text 850.681.2996 or email insurance@fdaservices.com to connect to our agents today. Visit fdaservices.com/disability for more information.

Hurricane Practice Prep

We’ve all seen the dramatic effect hurricanes can have, both the initial wind and rain and the floods and devastation that follow. There are steps you can take to stay safe and reduce damage to your property in the event of a storm.

BEFORE A HURRICANE

  • Install storm shutters.
  • Remove yard debris, such as dead tree limbs, that could become flying missiles.
  • Make sure your practice communication plan is in place and ready to be put into effect.
  • Make sure you and/or employees know how to shut off utilities, including water main.
  • Look through your emergency kit to ensure it is fully stocked and up to date with necessities for preparing your practice.
  • Back up computer records and store them at least 50 miles off-site.
  • Gather important papers to take with you if you must evacuate, including inventory lists and insurance information.

DURING A HURRICANE

  • Know your community’s evacuation plan and, if asked to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Stay inside and away from windows, skylights and glass doors. Avoid elevators.
  • Avoid washed out and wet roads that can hide downed electrical lines or underlying currents that can carry your vehicle away.

AFTER A HURRICANE

  • Water is a major cause of damage after hurricanes. The longer your house is exposed to water, the more damage you’ll see to your roof, ceiling, walls and floors, as well as any personal belongings inside. After the storm has passed, it’s important to dry out anything water damaged.
  • Open windows and doors to allow air to circulate and speed up the drying process.
  • Clean up any broken glass and remove debris.
  • Board up broken windows and doors.
  • Cover roof damage with tarps or plywood.
  • Save receipts for any temporary repair expenses.
  • Move any wet items to a dry place.
  • If possible, place any damaged items in a safe, secure area where they can be inspected later.


Content provided by Safeco Insurance.

This article was originally published in FDA Services’ Hurricane Guide, “Storm Proof.” Be prepared for the 2021 hurricane season with articles about how to prepare, loss and damage, and making a claim. Visit fdaservices.com for more information.

Are You Prepared for Hurricane Season?

June 1 is the official start of the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season! Don’t let that important date pass you by without reviewing your storm readiness plan and ensuring you have the right coverages in place to protect your practice. Creating an airtight plan now will give you the peace of mind to focus your attention on other challenges your dental practice may face in the coming months. 

Here are a few points to keep in mind this season:

  • Flood policies have a 30-day waiting period before they become effective.
  • Your office insurance could have some gaps that leave you vulnerable to storms (i.e., wind damage coverage). FDA Services (FDAS) can help identify and fill those gaps.
  • It is important to review the value of your building and its contents every few years to ensure that you have enough coverage.

Call or text FDAS at 850.681.2996 to review your coverage today!

2021 Hurricane Guide

Make sure you check out the 2021 FDAS Hurricane Guide, “Storm Proof,” which is full of helpful resources that will help you prepare for this year’s hurricane season with plenty of time to spare.

Upgrade Your Dental Office Payment Options

By Brian Eggert, IC System

Here’s something you may not realize about Americans: We’re still pretty attached to paper checks, and your dental practice is probably no exception, even if credit card payments are still accepted at the front desk. Still, it’s pretty clear the paper check is on its way out. In one decade, the trusty check has gone from the most common form of non-cash payment to being eclipsed by debit cards, credit cards and electronic funds transfers, according to the Federal Reserve. Take steps to upgrade your dental office payment options. Reducing check payments also reduces the time and labor to process payments, allowing you to receive payment more quickly. This makes payment processing more efficient and decreases time and money spent on collections.

Start Accepting Electronic Insurance Payments
Dental practices have an opportunity to recapture time and money by making the switch to electronic funds transfers when processing insurance payments. According to the National Association of Dental Plans, only 11 percent of dental plans are not equipped to issue electronic payments. Yet in 2015, 92 percent of dental practices still accepted payment from health plans and providers by paper check, while the remaining 8 percent were considered fully electronic (ACH/EFT), according to the 2016 CAQH Index.

What’s interesting about this report is a majority of dental practices are already submitting claims (74 percent) and verifying eligibility and benefits (58 percent) through fully electronic means. Upgrading the system to one that accepts electronic payment from payers is the next logical step. When comparing the time spent and costs for every transaction, the savings benefits are clear:

  • Providers spend anywhere from 5-17 minutes on each paper check, versus 1-4 minutes on electronic payments.
  • Processing each check costs providers $2.89, compared to $0.69 per EFT.

Add Payment Features
In real life, patients are customers — people who have a lot of other bills to pay, and chances are, they’re using debit and credit cards. Along with that, it’s important to remember that in the span of a decade, customers now have an array of safe, easy and convenient ways to pay by credit card online and with their mobile devices. They value having control over when and where they pay. They also want to be sure it’s safe.

A secure online payment portal lets your patients pay on their terms. Even better, if the widget lets them set up automatic, recurring payments to pay down higher-cost procedures, that ensures on-time payments to you.

Adding mobile pay services at the front desk and online also is a simple and secure way to streamline the payment process for patients in and out of the office. These add another layer of security in the transaction, but allow customers to settle up without having to dig out their credit or debit cards.

Need collection help? Call us at 800.279.3511 to REQUEST PRICING!

IC System is an FDA Services (FDAS) Crown Savings Merchant. FDAS has researched and vetted business solutions so FDA members can take advantage of exclusive deals and discounts offered through the Crown Savings program. Members who participate will save time, money and hassle, putting the focus back on patient care. Crown Savings benefits members and the association as the program produces revenue for the FDA through use of the association’s trade dress and mailing list. Greater participation means more revenue for the association to add value to the FDA membership. For more information, go to fdaservices.com/ic-system.