Long term disability insurance is an essential form of insurance that every physician should have.
No one plans on being unable to work due to injury or sickness. But it’s comforting to know that you can insure up to 60% of your income if one of these events prevents you from practicing your specialty:
- Illness or disease.
- Mental nervous disorders.
- Any accident or injury.
After filing a claim, you should receive the disability benefits you need to maintain your lifestyle. But if your claim is denied, suddenly a bad situation has become even worse.
Hiring a disability insurance lawyer is technically not a must. But it will save you from a tiring and lengthy process that could actually deepen your financial woes.
Recently, we teamed up with Disability Insurance Attorneys Dell & Schaefer to help answer the question:
When should a disability claimant hire a disability insurance attorney?
Here’s what we found.
When filing for long term disability insurance benefits, the initial application you submit is crucial. A disability insurance attorney can help you navigate the complex nature of the claims application and coordinate its filing. This will typically require input from your physician(s), accountant and co-workers.
Upon becoming disabled, your lawyer will let you know when to notify your insurance company. The disability company will then send you the claim form, which look much different than the forms that were used to buy your disability coverage. This makes it far too easy to misinterpret questions or overlook information, which may ultimately prevent you from receiving your proper benefits.
According to Gregory Dell, the managing attorney at Attorneys Dell & Schaefer:
“Selecting a correct date of disability is often a key factor that can be the difference in getting a claim approved."
He further stated that when his firm handles a disability claim from the inception:
“All communications are sent to the lawyer’s office and the disability company can never speak to the claimant without the lawyer."
Disability insurance companies claim to approve more than 85% of claims. But a they will still seize upon an opportunity to deny a claim. Needless to say, claimants who hire disability insurance attorneys record higher success rates than those who fly solo.
If you file a claim by yourself and it is denied, a disability insurance lawyer may be able to pursue options that don’t require an immediate lawsuit to be filed. Depending upon which disability company you purchased the disability policy from, you may be able to either submit additional information or submit an appeal.
In many claim denials a disability company will send you a copy of the records they relied upon to make this decision. A skilled disability insurance attorney can review your complete file and determine if it’s in your best interest to:
- Submit more information.
- File a lawsuit.
In many cases, Gregory Dell and his team of lawyers have been able to negotiate lump-sum buyouts of a long term disability policy without the need to file a lawsuit.
Disability insurance companies are required to evaluate a claim for long term benefits every month. The most common factors that lead to claim denial are:
- Your treating doctor fails to properly submit the attending physician statement.
- The monthly claimant statement is not completed correctly by the claimant.
- The disability company claims to have not received your medical records.
- The disability company is trying to get in touch with your treating doctor and cannot.
- The disability company sent your medical records for a file review and they are waiting for the results.
- The disability company is asking for different information every month and the claimant does not know if they are entitled to what they are seeking.
- The disability company is conducting a pre-existing condition evaluation in order to see if a claimant failed to disclose a prior medical condition.
With everything that is at stake, it's vital that you consider all of these possible outcomes.
A disability insurance policy is a very valuable asset that doctors utilize when they are limited in their ability to perform the duties of their occupation. Disability companies evaluate the terms of the disability and determine if a claimant is contractually eligible for benefits.
A disability insurance attorney that deals with disability claims every day can greatly improve your chances of getting approved and staying on claim when:
- When you file a claim.
- When your claim is denied.
- When your benefits are delayed.
Remember, the disability companies have in-house lawyers to advise them with any questions. That's why you should consider having a lawyer to protect your benefits for as long as you may think you will need them.
A special thanks to Gregory Dell for taking his time to highlight how a disability insurance attorney can help a claimant secure the long term benefits he or she needs.
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Jack is the Head of Content & SEO at LeverageRx, a personal finance company exclusively for doctors.