When I came up with a title for this post it made me chuckle. It seemed so familiar….but we’re not talking about my granddaughter. This is about life insurance and specifically the negative impact you can have on your application by not following through on doctors orders.

In all fairness, the issue of non compliance with doctor’s orders is kind of a moving target. I’ve had my doctor give me an order to get tests done if I feel like I want to follow up further on an issue that is really, in my mind and the doctor’s, resolved. So I have an order for blood work or an xray or something and my records indicate that I was given that order. What I’ve found is that my records don’t always indicate that the conversation was centered around “IF” I wanted to pursue it any further.

So, a life insurance underwriter sees where I was given an order for blood work and doesn’t find in the records anywhere that I completed that blood work, I am put in the non compliant file. Occasionally these kind of issues can be put to rest with a letter of explanation from the doctor. Sometimes life insurance underwriters exercise their misplaced desire to be a doctor and insist that if the test was ordered, the whole thing is on hold until the test is completed. Other times people get busy and forget (I’m guilty) that they were supposed to do some followup of some kind. The further we get away from that order being given the more we don’t remember it. Life insurance applications dig up all of that old stuff.

I have a client who we started working with back in May. It started out pretty straight forward with treated job related anxiety and a few years ago a gastric bypass operation. This client is in one of those jobs where the words “spare time” are a joke. If a doctor’s office is open my client is working. Things went smoothly until we got a veritable mountain of medical records in and we ran in to half a dozen issues of non compliance, tests that had really been ordered and were really wanted done by the physician, but were lost in the shuffle of a too busy life.

When I delivered the news about all the underwriter wanted, which included tests and appointments with specialists, I was told that it would be worked on, but it was going to take a while. All of us have experienced what it takes to get an appointment with a doctor you’ve never seen and scheduling tests around a crazy busy schedule. I stayed in touch and even though the file had been closed as incomplete by the life insurance company, we kept crawling forward. Just last week I got an email with the last of the results. Six and a half months after the application was taken. Six months after the first medical records were received and questions starting flying.

I forwarded the new information and test results to the company fully expecting that we might have to start over with a new application and exam, but, Merry Christmas, the policy was approved and actually approved one rate class better than applied for.

Bottom line. A couple of lessons in all of this about medical record management. If your doctor gives you orders for a test or to see another doctor, find out if it is his recommendation or just for your own edification. If you following up on it is really at your own discretion, tell the doctor to note in your records exactly that. Clarify with your doctor if he would consider you non compliant with his treatment if you don’t follow through. Make sure the records indicate if the order is important or not. If you have any questions or comments, please call or email me directly. Let’s talk.

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