Income replacement benefits due to COVID-19

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 63, No. 3, April 2021, Page 128 News COVID-19

Doctors of BC members have been heavily impacted by the global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, working on the front line to help the public while dealing with the prospect of getting sick themselves. There are several options available to physicians (and MOAs) who are seeking an income replacement benefit during a period of illness resulting from COVID-19.

Physicians enrolled in the government-funded physicians’ disability insurance (PDI) can access sickness benefits under regular disability certificate provisions, but can also access income benefits if quarantining due to an exposure, whether exposed to the virus inside or outside their occupation. There is a maximum of 14 days available under quarantine claims for PDI (nontaxable). For physicians with Disability INCOMEprotect or Professional Expense Insurance, benefits are available after completing the elimination period (continuous period of sickness required) for those with a positive or presumptive positive test for COVID-19. If these options do not apply and physicians are quarantining due to an occupational exposure, the negotiated quarantine income replacement (QIR) benefit is available. The QIR will pay for a maximum of 2 weeks in the amount of $3050 (taxable). This benefit is available multiple times if a physician faces new exposures and has to requarantine.

MOAs may have some disability insurance if enrolled in the Doctors of BC Health Benefits Trust Fund Plan, which can pay benefits after 17 weeks of continuous illness following a positive COVID-19 test. MOAs may also qualify for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit for periods of self-isolation or employment insurance sickness benefits for up to 15 weeks at 55% of earnings up to a maximum of $573 a week following a positive test or forced quarantine following an exposure.

Physicians are encouraged to review their coverage options every 3 to 5 years or upon a life event to ensure they are equipped with the right insurance for their needs. For more information on available benefits or to speak with a licensed insurance advisor about options, contact the Insurance Department at or 604 638-2904.
—Sam Morris
Insurance Administration Manager, Members’ Products and Services, Doctors of BC

Sam Morris. Income replacement benefits due to COVID-19. BCMJ, Vol. 63, No. 3, April, 2021, Page(s) 128 - News, COVID-19.

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