The article, "A disability: How hygienists adapt," (January 2000) by Cathy Hester Seckman, RDH, was inspirational. All of the women mentioned in the article exhibited courage and determination. The three hygienists experienced significant disabilities which changed their lives.
I have been a practicing dental hygienist for more than 40 years. For the past six years, I have also been a licensed insurance agent. Initially, when I started my insurance career, I thought hygienists would be interested in protecting their professional careers with disability insurance. However, to my surprise, dental hygienists are not ... physicians are my best clients.
It is imperative for hygienists, whether single or married, to protect their professional earning potential. How will lost earniings be replaced? Loans? Donations from family and friends? Will investments and savings be sufficient to carry the disasbled person to age 65? It is more realistic to pay an insurance premium. Coverage is provided after the first premium is paid. The insurance company will pay an agreed upon monthly benefit for a specified period of time. One should look for a company that guarantees the premiums and renewal, providing coverage to age 55 or 65, in one`s own occupation. This means one collects a benefit when unable to perform one`s specific occupation, but can do some other work without jeopardizing the monthly benefit.
The article certainly demonstrated that disabled hygienists can be productive. I am hoping it will also awaken hygienists to the need for financial protection in the event of a disability, which often requires long periods of rehabilitation and perhaps a re-evaluation of career goals.
In life, we need courage, determination, inspiration, and some planning.
Marie H. Cole, RDH
Staten Island, New York
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