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I remember a case a year or so a go when a client had undergone some very minor outpatient procedure during the underwriting of a life insurance application. The reason for the operation was hardly a mortality issue and he was back to work within a few days.

I was a little surprised when the company postponed making a decision until the client had gone for follow up visits and was officially released from any additional follow up. At the time it seemed a rather severe action given the minor nature of the procedure. But, in thinking it through, I remembered that I was hit with a staph infection almost six months after a hospital stay to repair a broken leg. When it all played out, the broken leg was nothing compared with the battle with the infection.

With drug resistant strains of staph infection now becoming more common, life insurance companies are correct in their caution, since hospitals and medical facilities still remain the most common place to contract the disease.

In the case I mentioned above, the client continued to have some minor discoloration and puffiness in the incision area for a month or so after the operation. Ten years ago that would not have been any cause for concern, but with staph infection and particularly the drug resistant strain on the rise, there is, even in my normally optimistic mind, room for concern about a mortality issue until everything is completely healed.

In the case of my broken leg, even more than 5 months post surgery, even after the bone was healed to the point that I was walking and even beginning to run, there was still redness and occasionally a few drops of clear discharge at the incision site. I really never gave it much thought until I was back in the hospital again, this time with a life threatening infection.

Bottom line. Life insurance companies will postpone decisions if you have a planned medical procedure. They will postpone a decision if you have had a medical or surgical procedure and have not yet been released from care. I hope this sheds some light on what appears to be an over reaction on the part of life insurance underwriters.