If you’re looking for a fascinating read, try your own medical records sometime. It runs the gamut from comedy to mystery and there’s even parts of it that might fall into the non fiction class. Be prepared though. What you think you’ll find when you dive off into this weekend classic may not be anything you expected.

I get plenty of chances to review parts of medical records for clients as we try to figure out why a life insurance underwriter has abused them over something they don’t seem to have a lot of knowledge about. It usually comes after the standard rate increase explanation, “due to information in the proposed insured’s medical records. ”

I always get a kick out of a couple of things. Whenever your doctor has you see another doctor, a specialist or something, that doctor will write a letter summarizing the visit to go in your regular doc’s medical records. It always starts out with a pleasantry like “Thank you very much for allowing me to participate in the care of Mr Doe”. Then come the details and it then ends with a redundiferous pleasantry, “Thank you very much very allowing me to participate in his care. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or concerns.”

I keep wanting to insert my opinion in there.  ” Thank you for allowing me to share in your client’s great insurance coverage. Come up with some questions and we can share a little more of it.”

And they use the word “present” in a rather odd way. “I explained to him that if he has symptoms of a heart attack in the future, he should present to the hospital as soon as possible”. They always use that word. It’s like they might lose their license to practice (that’s always killed me too….”practicing medicine) if they say he should go to the hospital instead of present to the hospital.

So much for humor. On to the mysteries. In order to streamline record keeping, especially in this day of computerized records, cutting and pasting has become part and parcel of the downgrading of actual medical record keeping. I helped a client review his records recently and they had copied and pasted his “social history” for years, even though it had changed substantially. Visit after visit the notation “Alcohol Use – history of alcohol abuse, currently drinking” was inserted. This started when the person actually did drink a bit too much and continued to very recently when he is a completely changed person and the same note is still being inserted. Needless to say, that kind of thing can get a life insurance underwriter all worked up because they assume it is accurate.  Life insurance underwriters haven’t caught on to the fact that medical records are an accuracy train wreck.

Bottom line. It’s time to present to your doctor (or go there if it’s less confusing) and review your records and insist on inaccurate information being removed.  I’m just wild guessing, but I’m thinking 90% of medical records contain errors that can come back to bite you.

This post is somewhat dated. Life insurance underwriting is changing and evolving continually. For more updated information check out some of the key word links. If you have a specific question or topic you need information for do a search. If you don’t find the answers you need contact me and we’ll make sure you get the information that is important to you.

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