Every year, 85,000 foreign nationals join the U.S. working force through H-1B visas. For these non-residents and their families with H-4 status, having sustainable financial wellbeing isn’t just an option, but a necessity. With a flexible plan such as disability insurance, you can make your dreams in America come to fruition. Disability insurance is a coverage plan that pays you a certain percentage of your income on a monthly basis if you become disabled and lose your source of income.
Disability Insurance for Those On H-1B Status
Why Do Those on H-1B Status Need Disability Insurance
To Avoid Becoming A Public Charge
The crux of H-1B status is having a U.S. job, meaning you need to keep earning an income to maintain your status. As inevitable as the job requirement is, the reality is that your employers aren’t compelled by law to keep you employed if you suffer a disability.
Being jobless, disabled, and without any source of income can be very problematic for both your finances and your immigration status. The U.S. government might have no other choice than to call for your return to your home country. With disability insurance, however, the regular monthly benefits from your policy providers can give you your family adequate financial protection while you search for a new H-1B job.
Medical Expenses Payment
According to the National Health Council, about 133 million people in the U.S. are living with various life-threatening conditions. Also, treating these conditions can be very costly. Every year, 4 billion dollars is spent by patients with these conditions out of pocket. Without a reliable plan like disability insurance coverage, medical bill payments can be complicated.
To Protect Your Assets
A disabling illness or accident can lead to personal bankruptcy and foreclosure within a short period. According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, mortgage foreclosures usually occur 16 times more often for disability than they do for death. The Mortgage Bankers Association also attested that disability remains one of the top primary drivers of delinquencies and foreclosure in the U.S.
This is an obvious and direct effect of losing a source of income and being unable to pay to maintain the assets or having to sell them off to meet pressing needs. It can be disheartening losing all the properties you’ve spent years working toward when disability strikes. This is another way disability insurance coverage can help.
What Kinds of Disability Insurance Policies Are Available to Those on H-1B Status
Group Short Disability Insurance for H-1B Holders
As an H-1B holder, you may get group disability insurance coverage through your employer as part of your employee benefits package. Group policies are generally inexpensive and it is guaranteed issue regardless of your health status. However, the coverage is usually a short-term policy, which only covers you for just a few weeks or months of disability before recovering and resuming back at work.
Unfortunately, some disabilities do last for several months, years, or even a lifetime. Employees who suffer long-term or permanent disability may be relieved by their employer and may become vulnerable to poverty. Meeting your personal and family needs while paying medical bills without a salary or other job-related benefits is would be extremely difficult without help. This is why you need a disability insurance plan that works for you as an individual.
Individual Disability Insurance for H-1B Holders
Unlike group coverage, an individual disability insurance plan is bought directly from an insurance carrier or through a licensed agent. It offers flexibility that allows you to purchase and use coverage according to your needs or preference. Individual policies might have short-term or long-term coverage depending on your choice and budget.
As an H-1B holder, however, an individual long-term policy will always be your best bet if you can afford it. This is to ensure a continuous source of income in the event of long-term disability or/and loss of a job. Depending on the terms of the coverage, an individually-purchased policy may continue paying your benefits even after leaving the U.S. You may enhance your coverage with several beneficial optional add-ons known as riders, which allow you to take full advantage of your policy. Some of the riders for H-1 status include:
What Do Those on H-1B Need to Know When Buying Disability Insurance
Work with A Trusted Agent
Some insurance carriers don’t cover non-residents like H-1B visa holders. For those that do, you will have to meet several underwriting requirements. An agent is in the best position to help you locate companies with the best plan for your status, and help you make the most of the policy after buying it.
Understand the Underwriting Guidelines for Nonresident Status
Disability insurance underwriting requirements for H-1B status is different from those for citizens and permanent residents. You may need to undergo a physical exam and complete paperwork, which may including submitting copies of your employment and traveling documents.
This is the amount you are eligible to receive during a disability. Ideally, it should be at least 60% of your current income, as anything less than that may be inadequate for your basic and medical needs.
The elimination period is the waiting period before you will be due for benefits after a disability strikes. Depending on the policy type, short-term coverage usually kicks in a few days after the disability while for long-term, you might need to wait for some months.
This should be discussed at the underwriting stage. As an H-1B holder, if you have job-related coverage, you might set your elimination period to be three months or more as your group policy can fill in for that period. By the time individual coverage starts coming in, it will be when it is most needed.
The policy’s definition of disability is the core term that guides your coverage. It involves the type of the product, the premium payment, length of coverage, and conditions for benefit payment eligibility, which may be either own occupation or any occupation. You will likely find some of the terms in the policy to be complicated for someone outside of the insurance industry. This is one of the major benefits of working with an experienced agent.
How Gold Coast Life Insurance Can Help
At Gold Coast life insurance, we are committed to helping non-residents of different statuses get the best disability insurance and make the most of their coverage. We work with the best underwriters in the U.S. to provide our H-1B clients with the best policies. Your health status won’t be a barrier with us as we also have various flexible products for high-risk applicants with pre-existing conditions. Getting your coverage from us is as simple as filling out this free quote.