Life insurance underwriters have a one word answer to applicants who have been prescribed medicine, or recommended to take a test and not taken it. That word is decline. In a nutshell it comes under the heading of non compliant with treatment. I’m guilty of it and while it may not bother your doctor if you do what he or she says, life insurance underwriters consider it a medical order, not a suggestion. Non compliance means you’ve taken the situation in your own hands and are making the medical decision about whatever issue is at hand, making you your own doctor. And usually the only qualification that prepares you to take over that position is Google.

I spoke with a woman today who was prescribed medication for a health issue and after reading about side effects on Google, she chose not to take the medication. But, as I pointed out to her, she also didn’t share that decision with the prescribing doctor and she didn’t get a second opinion upholding her decision, so…… In the eyes of life insurance she has a health issue and in spite of a MD recommendation for treatment she’s doing nothing.

We run into the same thing with prescribed tests also and again, I’m as bad as they come. In spite of the fact that I can recoup the cost from insurance in most cases, I frequently take exception based on the feeling that I think the test is unnecessary or over priced. I know this doesn’t make sense when I can get someone else to pay for it, but over priced is the more egregious foul as far as I’m concerned. I would take unnecessary tests all day long for $1 per test, but when they are $3000 I won’t do it because I don’t think my insurance company should have to pay it. But my life insurance portfolio is well in place and I don’t see the need for applying for any new life insurance. If I did? Well, remember that one word answer, decline. That would be me.

And that would be you if for any reason you decide not to do labs or take a test of some kind that your doctor has recommended without getting his blessing on that decision or getting a second opinion over riding it. A second opinion gets you off the hook because the underwriter can see you didn’t just blow off perfectly good and expensive advice, but did your due diligence and found a real doctor that really believes that it was unnecessary.

I recently had a client come to me after being declined due to bipolar disorder. He explained that he was diagnosed 13 years ago and treated for 10 years. He moved and because bipolar had never been a big deal in his life, he quit taking medication and 3 years later was doing fine. When I explained that the underwriter that declined him probably saw that as non compliant, it made sense and he scheduled a psych evaluation at my recommendation. The new evaluation determined he didn’t appear to have any mood disorders and didn’t need to be on medication. Approved preferred plus.

Bottom line. If you have issues hanging out there that you remember and you seriously want life insurance, you need to do a little house cleaning.  If there is some non compliance issue that you don’t even remember, guaranteed the underwriter will refresh your memory. If it’s brought up and you become compliant they will likely reopen the file. If you have any questions, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.

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