I think it’s happened to all of us at one point or another. We go to a doctor or a counselor and they come up with a diagnosis that is so far out of context that you can’t understand how they got from point A to B.

There is a very natural tendency, especially if you aren’t in acute distress, to just walk away and dismiss the diagnosis and get on with life. The problem from a life insurance standpoint is that in some records somewhere it is going to have that diagnosis and recommended treatment. And it will probably note that you chose not to comply with treatment. Non compliance to a life insurance underwriter is, in spite of what the Bible says, the unforgivable sin.

Case in point is a potential client who called me today through my bipolar life insurance link and said he had been declined twice about two years ago for life insurance because of bipolar disorder. We discussed his bipolar diagnosis and treatment and what his is going on currently. It turns out he was diagnosed by a counselor, not a psychologist or psychiatrist when he was having some anxiety toward the end of completing his master’s degree. After studying some about bipolar disorder he decided that the diagnosis was pretty bogus and he discontinued going to the counselor. He was never on any medication. He was never hospitalized. He hadn’t been having any manic episodes. He never had a suicidal thought.

When he applied for life insurance two years ago he was very honest and said that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but that he wasn’t and hadn’t been treated for it since just a few months after the counselor diagnosed it. He was doing fine. Has a good teaching job and a great marriage with children. The problem is the agent didn’t do his homework and gave the underwriter no choice but to decline due to non compliance with treatment for bipolar.

After hearing all of this, knowing that bipolar was in MIB, I asked if he had ever discussed this with his primary care doctor and he admitted that he hadn’t. I explained that the reason for the decline wasn’t because he was crazy, but rather someone had opened up a crazy bottle in his past and he had neglected to ever put the cork back in. The solution in his case will either be his primary care doctor speaking to the issue or, if he isn’t comfortable doing that, referring him for a psych evaluation to either confirm or discard the old diagnosis. Someone has to put the cork in it or he will be forever non compliant.

The issue of non compliance is probably more prevalent than not and it isn’t always because we’re ignoring our doctors. Sometimes our doctors will tell us that they are confident that we don’t have something, but if we want to put one more period at the end of that sentence, “here’s an order for another test”. In the records it will show that you were given an order for a test and that, because you trusted your doctor, you didn’t have it. Usually your records won’t indicate that it was just an optional test and the doctor really didn’t think it was necessary. It just shows that you didn’t comply with the order for the test.

Sometimes this can be explained to an underwriter and they’ll accept it, but just as often the underwriter will postpone making a decision on the application until the test, needed or not, is completed. The cost of leaving loose ends in your medical records. This is a problem I’ve discussed since beginning this blog. People take their financial records so seriously, or at least much more seriously than they do medical records. I believe this is due to an underlying feeling that a mistake in medical records is no big deal because it’s just between you and your doctor.

A client that was approved just recently spent four months fulfilling all of the outstanding tests that were asked for by her doctor. She’s a very busy professional and simply got behind on and then forgot about things her doctor wanted done. Her application came to a screaming halt until everything was completed.

Bottom line. I know this won’t prompt everyone to review their medical records for areas of non compliance, but maybe it will help a few understand why they are seemingly declined for no reason. If you have questions or need help working your way through a non compliance issue, or if you just can’t figure out why you were declined, call or email me directly. Let’s talk.

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