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Our family is going through an issue that, after some thought, I’ve decided is worthy of discussion in the context of life insurance. Like the breast cancer I’ve discussed that my mother is just completing treatment on, while I’ll use my parents as an example, they are just that, an example of a problem that is pervasive and can absolutely impact your ability to get life insurance at the best rates possible.

They have outgrown the expertise of their longtime general practitioner and because of that they are not getting the kind of follow up that an insurance underwriter would like to see in order to consider someone for better rates.

When your medical life becomes more complicated, whether that is from gastro intestinal issues, sleep problems or even high blood pressure, quite often your primary care doctor will give you a referral to a specialist. The problem arises when they don’t refer you and just treat symptoms even though they have stepped outside their area of expertise, general medicine.

This complicates things from a life insurance standpoint because underwriters can see that you are not getting the proper advice and treatment. They can see that the doctor is prescribing medication and that they aren’t doing the proper followup tests. An example from my own family is the prescribing of Coumadin with the followup blood tests, the PT-NR, that should be done monthly to monitor your blood clotting ability. The doctor prescribed the medication and hasn’t been doing the followup tests. If my Dad was younger and applying for life insurance, he would be declined simply because he wasn’t getting the treatment and followup he needs.

My Mom has always had a hard time sleeping and the same GP, rather than referring her to a sleep specialist, has chosen to treat her himself. Unfortunately that treatment has been a real hit and miss, try this and try that type of approach. He has gone through several medications and some of those were inappropriate for someone her age. A life insurance underwriter would decline her because of this inconsistency.

There is simply a time when you, as a patient, need to realize that your doctor has stepped out of their box of expertise. It can drag a medical problem on for too long. It can make it worse and it can impact your ability to get life and health insurance.

Bottom line. This isn’t about your doctor and the relationship you’ve had for years. It’s about the care you need and deserve. It’s about resolving health issues in an expedient and professional manner.