Unlike a privately owned Long Term Care Disability Insurance Policy, where you get to choose the policy, the selection of various additional riders or policy enhancements, and the company you purchase it from, most employees have to accept the disability insurance company that their employers have selected. Unless you are high up on the corporate ladder, or directly involved in the selection of the policy, there’s little choice involved. What is purchased on your behalf is what you are left with.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should not educate yourself about the insurance company and the policy. There are critically important terms that one should pay attention to which could impact a claim. Examples are where policies provide for a limited pay period for conditions related to depression or anxiety, while a growing number of policies have chosen to contain limited pay periods for self reported illnesses, chronic fatigue syndrome and other disorders. Claimants may be unaware of these limitations in benefit periods prior to filing a claim, and may only learn of this during the claim process – when the time for planning has already passed.
Online research will get you to any number of websites that report on insurance companies from the business side – their earnings reports, how they are rated by companies like Dun & Bradstreet, A.M. Best, or Moody’s. It’s a pretty safe bet that a company with slim earnings is going to be a bit more aggressive about protecting their reserves by delaying or denying claims than one that is sitting on a big pile of cash.
One of the first things we ask claimants when they engage Frankel & Newfield is if they have a copy of the original policy. It’s a question that bears repeating because it could be critical to your situation. If you don’t have the policy, contact your HR department or the agent to get a copy of the original policy. That policy is the contract between your employer and the insurance company, and the language in the contract changes from policy to policy. The policy that you received as an employee in the 1980s may not be the same as the one that you will receive today. Times change – and so do insurance policies.
You may not have any control about which insurance company your employer chooses to do business with. But you can prepare – by educating yourself about the company, making sure you have a policy, and reaching out for help with your claim. Frankel & Newfield works with claimants before, during and after the claims process – and we can help you too, at any stage of the claims process.