While hardly a problem that is restricted to people in the medical fields, simply based on the number of physicians and dentists I have worked with over the past few years, it seems their easy access to the drugs and or ability to write prescriptions is a growing problem.

Fortunately for professionals there are treatment programs and restrictive requirements for post treatment random testing. The chances of relapse if they want to continue in their current profession are really very small. But that doesn’t change the problem they have created in obtaining life insurance post drug abuse treatment. As with other types of abuse, life insurance underwriters look carefully at how seriously a person views the problem and how vigorously they pursue their treatment and recovery. The good news is that if a person is aggressively compliant with treatment and doesn’t have any setbacks in recovery, life insurance can become available within just a few years post treatment. A surgeon I am working with was just approved 2.5 years out from inpatient treatment and just three months after going off of Vivitrol.

The fact that we were able to get a life insurance approval so soon after the end of the Vivitrol treatment is something of a breakthrough but also speaks to this particular patient. He voluntarily entered rehab and dedicated himself to getting on top of the addiction. He committed to a 5 year random urine test program and even though he could have likely stayed clean on his own, he chose to follow the treatment center advice to take Vivitrol for two years. Normally underwriting guidelines would call for him to be off of any aid like Vivitrol or Naltrexone for at least a year if not two. His compliance and control won him an early gift from the underwriter.

I think it’s important to note that while this kind of result can happen, it won’t happen if you don’t work with an agent and a company that are willing to take the time to steer the case through or past all of the pitfalls that are out there. The biggest of those is (if I’ve said it once) choosing the right agent (knowledgeable and experienced with your issue) who chooses the right company (knowledgeable with a track record with your issue). If a prescription drug abuse life insurance application is thrown out to any company outside of a group of maybe 3-4 out of the 2000 available, it is dead on arrival. If it isn’t carefully researched and shopped prior to being presented to those 3 or 4 companies, it is wounded at best. Professionals like attorneys, physicians, dentists and psychiatrists are held to a higher standard by their peers and by the world we live in. For those that mess up, like any of us can, we’ve been very successful at least getting their life insurance world back on track.

I am working on another case, the CEO of a company, who had some short term issues with alcohol abuse. That is to say the guy was practically a non drinker for most of his adult life but chose drinking to cope with the end of a long term marriage. He got a grip before long and went through a treatment program and was put on Naltrexone, just to ensure that he had time to return to the normal non drinking self that he had been.

In the interim he remarried and he was open and honest about what he had gone through after the divorce. His new wife asked him if he would be OK with staying on Naltrexone since she was a non drinker and just wanted to be assured that it wouldn’t be an issue in their relationship. He agreed and his doctor, after talking with them both, agreed to continue to prescribe it. I warned him ahead of time that he wasn’t going to be feeling the love from most insurance companies, even those that are the best with alcohol abuse life insurance. In the end we got one offer. Everyone else didn’t care what his wife wanted, as long as he continued on Naltrexone they would treat him as if he hadn’t completed treatment.

I get the underwriting logic but with the presence of a letter from his doctor stating that he had counseled he and his wife on the option and didn’t have any problem with that chosen direction I really expected more offers. But……the one offer is a fair offer, so we’ll be able to get the insurance he wants and he knows now that in order to get more quotes he will need to come to an agreement with his wife to ditch the Naltrexone.

Bottom line. These two cases were unusual in that one was technically still under treatment and the other only a few months out from treatment, but we got them both done. If you have any questions or think you should have been approved, but weren’t, in a substance abuse issue, call or email me directly. Let’s talk.

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