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Inside Dentistry

November/December 2007, Volume 3, Issue 10
Published by AEGIS Communications

Using Your Insurance: New Dentist Covers His Bases

Bobby Jivnani, DDS, paid close attention to his professors during his 4 years at Baylor College of Dentistry, but one lecture in particular stood out.

“A professor told us about a student who had attended Baylor a few years earlier,” the Richardson, TX, dentist recalls. “He was in his third or fourth year of dental school when he broke his arm in a biking accident and suffered permanent nerve damage. Just like that, he was forced to give up his dream of practicing dentistry.

“The professor used that story to drive home how important it is to protect the investment we have made in ourselves with adequate insurance,” Dr. Jivnani continues. “I am glad I was at that lecture, because that is exactly what I have tried to do.”

GETTING STARTED

Dr. Jivnani started his insurance portfolio as a dental student with free life insurance that is available to student mem-bers of the American Dental Association (ADA). He also bought an inexpensive student disability income policy through the ADA. Both policies are underwritten and administered by Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company (Greenwood Village, CO), and are part of the suite of group insurance policies offered to ADA members as part of the ADA Insurance Plans.

When Dr. Jivnani graduated in 2003, he had the opportunity to take over the practice of one of his professors. “It was a small practice at the time—barely 300 patients in an 800-sq ft. space,” Dr. Jivnani, now 35, says. “Today, it has grown to 2,000 patients, five employees, and a 3,000-sq. ft. office.”

GROWING NEEDS

Dr. Jivnani anticipated that his insurance needs would grow, too. “I kept the life insurance I had as a student, and added a significant amount in case I needed it as collateral for a loan,” he explains. “I also wanted to protect my wife Priya and our two children.”

In addition, Dr. Jivnani took steps to financially protect himself against the possibility of a disability. He was able to convert his student disability insurance (without a medical exam) to the ADA’s Income Protection Plan. Then he applied for more insurance as his income increased.

To bolster his disability coverage, Dr. Jivnani added two options. A Future Increase Option allows him to add more coverage as his income grows without having to requalify medically. In addition, a Residual Plus Option boosts the partial disability benefit of his plan, meaning he can collect benefits even if he has a partial disability that is not preceded by a period of total disability.

Next, Dr. Jivnani purchased ADA Office Overhead Expense insurance, a type of coverage that reimburses a disabled dentist for certain business expenses, such as rent, utilities, employees’ salaries, the cost of a replacement dentist, and so on. Supplementing his family’s medical insurance was another priority. 

“I own MedCASH, a medical supplement policy from the ADA, which pays a cash benefit for a hospitalization or emergency room visit,” he explains. “When our baby daughter was born, she had some medical problems and was in the neonatal unit for 7 days. The bills skyrocketed, and MedCASH really helped out, especially because our major medical plan has such a high deductible.”

CONCLUSION

Looking back, Dr. Jivnani sees how easy it might have been for him to ignore his insurance needs. “Dental students are so focused on school that they sometimes lose sight of how important it is to protect their future with adequate insurance,” he observes. “If I could say anything to dental students and new dentists it would be this: Take a few minutes to secure your future by getting insurance in place. Even if it is not a large amount at first, try to cover all your bases.”

Editor’s note:
Dr. Jivnani’s statements were obtained by Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, underwriter and administrator of the ADA Insurance Plans, relative to his coverage under Group Policy #104TLP, #1105GDH-IPP, #1106GDH-OEP, #1107GH-MCP, and reprinted with permission. For more information, visit www.insurance.ada.org or call 888-463-4545. This article does not constitute legal, tax, or financial advice; please seek professional input as appropriate to your situation.