AVMA LIFE Trust Plan Changes: Clarification and Support

For more than 60 years, AVMA LIFE has provided veterinarian-inspired coverage to veterinarians, their employees, and their families. Through AVMA LIFE, AVMA members have access to a range of insurance products, including employer-based health insurance, long-term disability, short-term disability, and supplemental benefits, as well as educational resources to help you in your practice and life.

To support AVMA LIFE’s ongoing strategy and to ensure the long-term viability and availability of our products, we recently performed an extensive and detailed analysis of our products and pricing to ensure the quality and affordability of our offerings for all members. This included various product enhancements, a comprehensive review of our pricing, and the modification of some existing benefits.

Some members have expressed concern regarding the changes to these products. We hear your concerns and want to provide clarification and support.

What changes have been made to AVMA LIFE’s disability products?

AVMA LIFE Long-Term Disability Income Insurance

  • For covered disabilities beginning November 1, 2019 and later, members who are under age 50 will have a maximum benefit period of up to age 70.
  • For covered disabilities beginning at ages beyond 50, the maximum benefit period is unchanged.

AVMA LIFE Short-Term Disability Income Insurance

  • Effective November 1, 2019, the benefit for disabilities resulting from routine, normal, or uncomplicated pregnancy has been modified from 90 days to 30 days.
  • Additionally, for covered disabilities resulting from pregnancy, coverage must now be in effect for at least 12 consecutive months (as opposed to the previous 9 months) before short-term disability benefits can be paid.
  • Please keep in mind that the 30-day benefit period limit only applies to covered disabilities resulting from routine, normal, or uncomplicated deliveries. If there are disabilities due to complications of pregnancy, benefits can be paid as any other disability up to a 6-month maximum benefit period.
  • AVMA LIFE is working diligently with New York Life to develop additional options and the required pricing. More information will be communicated as soon as possible.

When will these changes go into effect?

These changes take effect November 1, 2019.

Insured short-term disability members who deliver on or before March 31, 2020, are eligible to receive the previous maximum benefit of up to three months.

Differences Between the Short-Term Disability Benefit and the Length of Maternity Leave

This change is NOT an AVMA recommendation for the appropriate length for maternity leave. While short-term disability can be used to replace some of the income lost due to time away from a practice during pregnancy and birth, we are in no way making a recommendation for how long someone should stay home following the birth of a child.

What You Can Do

If you have questions regarding your long-term disability policy, your short-term disability policy, or any other AVMA LIFE policy, contact your AVMA LIFE agent.

If you are currently pregnant and a current short-term disability insured, contact your AVMA LIFE agent to request a waiver to receive benefits up to 90 days.

AVMA’s Ongoing Commitment to Members

The AVMA strives to support every member at every stage of their careers and lives. We recognize this this may be difficult news, especially for our members who are working mothers or those who are looking to start a family. We are doing everything we can to meet the needs of working parents while ensuring we can continue to provide these benefits well into the future.

Our objective is to provide coverage across the spectrum of our members’ practice, career, and life that is high quality and affordable. We are proud to have supported the veterinary profession for more than half a century. The recent review of product offerings will help make sure we continue to do so for another half century—and beyond.

Moving forward, we are continuing to evaluate options to better serve our members, including pricing out short-term disability options with longer maximum benefit periods for routine pregnancy disabilities. We will continue to update members as we explore these options.