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The Life Insurance Medical Record Quagmire!

If everyone would just go to one doctor, or if they can’t accommodate that if they could at least make sure that copies of any other records end up in their primary care doctors records. There, we’ve satisfied our need for a little whine, but for anyone with a health history of any consequence it takes an extra effort on the part of the agent and client to make sure that the life insurance underwriting process doesn’t get bogged down in one record leading to another leading to another……

Such is often the case with people who have see specialists or been referred to another doctor for testing by their PC doc. I think we all assume that if our PC refers us to someone that they will acquire and retain a copy of the results in your medical records and in a perfect world that would be the case. Unfortunately our doctors don’t live in the same perfect world we do and it is actually the exception when that information gets transferred into our main medical file. Usually all we find in the PC records is a referral note or a mention that testing has been ordered but unless it’s something that your PC needs before they direct a course of treatment, you will very seldom find even a note referring to the completion of the testing or visit to s specialist.

How does this affect the risk underwriting process? As that process moves along the underwriter will order at least your PC’s records and that will take 1-3 weeks to receive. As they review that they might stumble across a referral for, let’s say, a sleep study to determine if you have a risk of sleep apnea. The referral is there but since it’s not something he or she would be the treating doctor for, the results aren’t there and any treatment that may have been recommended is MIA also. Or they might refer you to a urologist because your PSA has risen a little bit, but have no record of that visit being completed or what the end result was. So, the life insurance underwriter first contacts us to ask you if those things have been done and if they have, where we can obtain records. If they have to order records that’s another 1-3 weeks. If those records show a referral to anyone else and don’t contain the results add another 1-3 weeks.

If there was testing ordered that you, for whatever reason, didn’t complete, then the underwriter will postpone underwriting the risk any further until you complete the test or provide something from your doctor showing that it was ok with them that you didn’t follow through. In these types of situations it isn’t uncommon to see a few months added to an underwriting process that should only take a month.

Having said all of that it is our job as agents to dig and ask about other treatment or testing before the process even starts, but sometimes even our best efforts fail. I ask if a person has ever been diagnosed with or treated for sleep apnea and the answer is no, but there isn’t a logical reason to ask so we miss that chance to order those records up front or let the underwriter decide, especially if the testing was negative, whether they even want those.

In all of this, while we’re sharing it with you, there is a refinement that needs to go on in our initial application questions, so, a blog to ourselves and other agents. If it happens to jog your mind and make your process more streamlined, that’s great too. If you have any questions about what might be helpful in the underwriting of your life insurance risk, call or email us. We can help.

About the Author

Every year millions are needlessly declined for life insurance or approved and paying far more than they need to. For 14 years, I have specialized in turning those situations around and finding the right life insurance solution at affordable rates. I give every client the personal attention they deserve.

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