What to do if you are having problems with a permanent health insurance claim
When dealing with an insurance claim, whether it is a group or individual policy, a number of problems may arise. Here, our team of specialist solicitors give you the guidance you need so you can understand the best way to proceed.
Alternatively, if you need further information from our team, contact us directly to see how you can claim for denied health insurance.
Please click on the link that best represents your situation:
- Your claim has been denied
- Your claim is being reviewed
- Your claim has been terminated
- You have been offered a lump sum settlement
Your claim has been denied
This could be at the start of the appeal process, for either a group or individual PHI policy. Either way, combating their medical evidence in conjunction with your own medical advisers early on is key to success.
Often the employer is either not particularly supportive or fairly inattentive regarding the necessary paperwork for an appeal. They may no longer be paying you because of your long-term absence, the main issue is to first obtain a copy of the insurer’s Letter of Refusal and then request copies of any documents it refers to.
The documents may contain reference to material from other doctors, or from the insurer’s Chief Medical Officers (CMOs), who in reality are often self-employed doctors such as retired GPs. Insurers may be reluctant to disclose this information and if they are not prepared to do so a formal request should be made under the Data Protection Act. The letter may also be inaccurate about your medical condition.
Your claim is being reviewed
If you are receiving payments under a group PHI scheme your claim will be regularly reviewed. Often insurers will try and do this on an annual or even more regular basis.
The Financial Ombudsman Service have established that a reasonable period for a review is not less than every 12 months. Insurers sometimes try and put a claim under almost continuous review i.e. setting up a review which lasts over six months and then almost immediately starting a new one. These reviews are particularly stressful. As well as forms to complete, a review may well consist of a visit from someone appointed by the insurers.
Insurers may also request an appointment with a medical expert nominated by them. In the event that this happens, it is sensible to take advice before such an appointment, request a copy of their CV, take someone with you to any appointment, and avoid any request for a home visit. It is possible that the expert they select will be an Occupational Health Physician (or even a Psychiatrist) rather than one relevant to your particular medical condition. The GMC Good Practice Guidelines (2013), state that the doctor should have expertise in the condition and should not leave out any relevant material.
Other matters to consider carefully in a review are any Activity Questionnaire sent to you by insurers. These are forms with limited space so always attach a more detailed schedule. Great care needs to be taken in completing the form. Insurers also actively use surveillance and monitor social media.
Your claim has been terminated
This will obviously come as a great shock and, in the event your claim is terminated, urgent advice needs to be taken.
Initially, the Letter of Termination needs to be carefully considered. For example, the first letter will normally not be marked as a “Final Decision” letter, leaving the opportunity to appeal against it before a Final Decision Letter is issued.
Once a letter is issued marked “Final Decision Letter” there is only a six month time limit in which to make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service so care needs to be taken to put in the best possible appeal within this period.
The key issue (which the Ombudsman will also consider) is your own medical evidence; specifically any consultant’s evidence. Other important documents are your precise job specification and your analysis of any reports or surveillance obtained by insurers.
Again, if reports are not disclosed by the insurer, a request should be made under the Data Protection Act. If surveillance has been carried out, request in writing both the DVD and also the written reports. Urgent advice should be taken on any Letter of Termination.