Long-Term Care can be a tough subject.
Often times, you have to do a little detective work to ensure your cases are processed through Underwriting quickly.
Here are six things you can do to help uncover important information the underwriter needs to issue your case.
Ask about specialty physicians
Knowing if a specialist is treating your client gives the underwriter clues about their health condition.
- If your client had bypass surgery, ask whether they have a cardiologist.
- If they had joint replacement, ask if they have an orthopedist.
- If they have rheumatoid arthritis, ask if they see an arheumatologist.
- If your client is taking multiple medications for depression and anxiety, ask if they have a psychiatrist.
- If they have diabetes, ask if he sees an endocrinologist.
Pay attention to the date of diagnosis
A recent diagnosis (within six months to one year) may not be enough time to assess the client’s stability.
Note the date of the last doctor’s visit
If it’s been over two years since your client’s last physical exam and lab work, they won’t qualify for preferred underwriting. Also, pay attention to recent doctor’s visits. Ask your client if they have a follow-up visit planned. Knowing an applicant is undergoing treatment allows the underwriter to order an attending physician’s statement immediately, instead of waiting until the client mentions it during the personal health interview.
Listen carefully for these things:
- Pending tests – Be sure to ask if the client is scheduled for a test that has not yet been performed.
- Recent surgeries – Ask what type of surgery the client had. Was a malignancy found? Has the wound healed? You also should ask if the client is released from care or requires further follow-up.
- Physical therapy – Ask about the diagnosis. Is the pain or condition resolved? Do they require further treatment? Find out if the physical therapy helped or if surgery has been recommended.
Try to identify the diagnosis behind the medication
Many people refer to a medication in terms of the symptoms it addresses. For example:
- Your client says they take a “water pill for fluid.” This can mean several things, from occasional lower extremity edema to something more serious, like heart failure. Also, pay close attention to the medication dosage as this can be a clue to your client’s condition.
- Many applicants will indicate they take a “blood thinner.” Ask about the diagnosis. Is there a history of stroke or mini-stroke? Has the client had any type of heart surgery and, if so, when? Has the client had blood clots? If so, how long ago? Has the client had surgery of the leg?
- If your client says they take a medication for “bones” or to “prevent osteoporosis,” ask if they’ve had a bone density test done in the past two years and what the doctor told them about their bone density. Typically, these medications aren’t prescribed unless bone density tests have indicated the applicant has some type of bone loss, which impacts insurability.
- If your client mentions taking a medication for “arthritis,” you should suspect rheumatoid arthritis or another serious condition and rate accordingly.
- If your client lists pain medications, specifically narcotics, it’s very important to find out the reason the medication is used, how often it’s taken and how long the client has used it. For example, does your client use it only after they mow the lawn or do they have pain on a daily basis?
If you have a client who is young, but not working, ask why. Do they have chronic health conditions that prevent them from working? Are they collecting disability benefits? The underwriter needs to know.
Please contact your LTC Specialist for more information.