There is a lot of blaming life insurance underwriters for things that need to be pulled back from that target and laid squarely on your own doctor’s desk. At Risk Life we have found that most people’s records have errors, and a life insurance underwriter will never know it is an error because you don’t even know about and your doctor doesn’t care about it.
Probably the most consistent mistakes come in what is called SH, or Social History. When you first met your doctor you either filled out a social history questionnaire and one actually asked the questions. Do you drink? Do you smoke? Have you ever? Family history? Exercise? Marital status, etc? This and much more is entered under Social History and, in the absence of an exceptional doctor or an especially alert you, it is never changed. Now it is all computerized and every time you go to the doctor part of that visit is social history. But does your doctor ask you if you still drink, quit smoking, quit drinking, or anything else related to that old information? Highly unlikely. So it is dragged forward each time you see the doctor but never updated.
Just a sample of how this can wreak havoc was a client we are currently working with who had a drinking problem but quit drinking in 2006. But his social history still reflected drinking 6 years later. It basically painted a picture of an alcoholic that said he quit drinking but still drinks, which is not going to fly with a life insurance underwriter. If you’ve been through alcohol treatment or been a problem drinker and quit on your own, for life insurance purposes you better not even still bring in the new year with a half plastic glass of bubbly.
We’ve had clients who quit smoking and have been approved at smoking rates because their records didn’t reflect any change in the habit, even though their labs were negative for nicotine. The underwriter knows a smoker can be nicotine negative in 3-4 weeks and if the records clearly state a person is still smoking, the assumption has to fall in favor of the written record of a medical professional, someone who sees you consistently unlike the photo snap of a lab test.
And doctors are reluctant to change information, or fix, what’s in their records because that is tantamount to admitting that they have inaccurate records, the feed trough for malpractice attorneys. So there you are. Even when you find the damaging misinformation in your medical records you may not be able to get your doctor to help you out. If you’ve run into these problems or need help finding out where malicious misinformation comes from, call or email us directly. We can help.
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