Update my personal history in your records if you expect me to pay your bill. Yes, I am suggesting yelling at your doctor and yes, they may get all offended by the assertion that they aren’t doing their job, but it’s kind of like the old adage, “How can you tell if he’s lying?”….”Because he opened his mouth”! How do you know if your medical records don’t reflect up to date personal history? Because you’ve seen the doctor more than once!

I just got news from a life insurance underwriter that it looked like my client was headed for a decline because of an entry in his medical records from September last year talking about just getting out of the hospital due to depression, being out of work and having anxiety because he was recently separated from his wife. It also mentioned just starting medication that kind of threw a curve ball into the underwriting because he had claimed he had been treated for ADHD for several years. I would have been alarmed if this was someone I didn’t know very well, but as his life insurance agent for three years I knew his history very well and the attending physician statement entry wasn’t accurate in September 2014.

But alarmed or not, former client or not, I knew the only chance of getting his life insurance back on track for an approval was to get the information. I called and asked my client about the accuracy of the information in the context of last September and he confirmed that the information was all correct but it all happened in 2009-2010 and was not anything he had ever seen this particular doctor about and, in fact, used this primary care doctor for colds and such and had never even discussed the events with him.  Have you read what’s in your medical records lately with an eye toward how that information tracks with reality, and how, in this case, it could well be a HIPAA violation for the doctor to have even released that information since it was clearly presented inaccurately and came from another doctor’s records?

Bottom line. I would love to say this kind of mistake is rarely seen, but the truth is that mistakes in medical records are the norm and definitely not the exception. Keep in mind that any error is a problem and some errors can be downright harmful. If an insurance company acquires bad information from your doctor they aren’t required to substantiate it before releasing it to the MIB, Medical Information Bureau. If you have questions about being declined or rated for life insurance based on medical records that don’t seem to coincide with reality, definitely get a copy of your records and review the information. If it looks like errors led to the bad life insurance experience, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.

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