Arthritis and Its Many Forms: How It Affects Dental Professionals

The number one cause of disability in America is arthritis, which afflicts over 50 million people. With a U.S. population of 320 million this means that 1 person in every 6 has arthritis. These large numbers could be due to the fact that there are over 100 different types of arthritis ranging from lupus to gout. In this post, we will look to focus on the three most prevalent types of arthritis: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. We will also discuss how they can affect your practice as a dentist, and how to approach a disability insurance claim for arthritis.

The Basics: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the arthritis that arises simply from the overuse of joints, and for this reason it is known as “wear and tear” arthritis. Symptoms include pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints after either overuse or long periods of inactivity. It is most commonly developed as people naturally age and their bodies reflect that age, but can also be found in professions with repetitive movements, such as dentistry.

Since OA is due to aging or the effects of repetitive motion, OA is often progressive. It is the most common form of arthritis, and treatment can range from added exercise and weight loss (where the main cause of the OA is obesity), to taking various pain relievers, and even surgery.


1)See Osteoarthritis of the Hand in http://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/osteoarthritis-of-the-hand h9991469_001

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease, and is three times more common in women than it is in men. The body’s immune system mistakenly attacks joints, which leads to inflammation that causes further damage. While the symptoms are similar to OA in that there is joint pain and swelling, rheumatoid arthritis also can bring about fevers, fatigue, and weight loss. The joint pain you may be experiencing is often symmetrical, meaning both sides of the body are affected, in RA.

Unfortunately, the causes of RA aren’t fully understood. Symptoms can start and stop, occasionally going into remission, but RA is usually progressive. Risk factors for RA include family history of the disease, smoking, periodontal disease, and microbes in the bowels. There is no cure for RA, and it is treated somewhat similarly to OA in that pain medication, increased exercise, and surgery can be used to try to alleviate symptoms.

2)See Rheumatoid Arthritis in http://www.ezhealthmd.com/medical-conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/rheumatoid-arthritis-hand

Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) is an inflammation of both the skin and joints. This form of arthritis affects people who have psoriasis, but only about 1/3 of people with psoriasis also contract arthritis. PsA has symptoms similar to RA in that there is joint pain and swelling as well as fevers, fatigue, and weight loss, but it is also preceded by the symptoms of psoriasis which include red, white and scaly patches of the skin and fingernail and toenail disorders.

Factors such as an injury to the skin, sunlight, bacterial infections and smoking may trigger psoriasis. The causes of PsA are unknown, but heredity, as well as a physical trauma or a viral or bacterial infection, may play a role. Similar to RA and OA, there is no cure for PsA, but it can be treated with exercises, medications, and hot and cold applications.

3)See What causes psoriasis? in http://www.laserdermatologynyc.com/psoriasis-treatment.aspxpsoriasis-treatment1

 

Arthritis and Dental Practice

Arthritis of any form can be debilitating for dentists, but in many cases, a dentist diagnosed with an arthritic condition could continue to work without filing a disability claim. However, it is important to recognize how your actions, such as decreasing work, continuing to work, and the way you document your condition, can influence the amount of benefits you are able to collect should you have to file for total disability.

Due to the progressive nature of all three of these types of arthritis, and the fact that the repetitive movements of dentistry can wear down protection between joints, it is often necessary for dentists with arthritis to decrease the amount of time at the office or the sorts of procedures that they perform. However, dentists should be mindful of how this reduction in work hours and activities will affect a potential disability insurance claim. Typically, one’s occupation at time that the claim is filed is the occupation that insurers will use to determine what benefits one will receive. If the practitioner has been decreasing work time and procedures performed, then he or she has effectively modified the occupation, and thus potentially the amount of benefits he or she can claim. While a dentist may not need to stop working immediately after being diagnosed with any form of arthritis, it is important to recognize when the symptoms are having a noticeable effect on one’s practice. In this situation, communicating with a doctor and potentially talking with a disability insurance lawyer are two important steps to take for the future of one’s practice and claim.

Another aspect of arthritis that can be frustrating for dental professionals is its ability to go into remission. A practitioner may be tempted to continue working through pain, especially if he or she seems to be in remission. Unfortunately, this may be the wrong move to make depending on the circumstances. While the condition may seem to be gone for the time being, the fact that it can start again puts patients at risk. If something were to happen to a patient, perhaps due to arthritic pain or stiffness that causes a dentist to drop an instrument, the practitioner could be sued for malpractice. It’s easy for a malpractice attorney to make the claim that the practitioner was aware of his or her arthritis and its progression, and that continuing to practice meant that he or she knowingly put the patient at risk. While the work ethic of doctors and dentists makes it difficult to simply stop working, it is essential both from a medical and legal standpoint to file for total disability once the arthritis has progressed to a point where it impinges on one’s ability to practice safely.

It is also imperative that a dentist diagnosed with arthritis keep thorough documentation of his or her condition. Since arthritis is progressive and also has the potential for remission, a dentist could continue working as long as his or her condition doesn’t have a major effect on the practice. However, having a doctor keep records of one’s arthritis and its progression is extremely important, especially since insurance companies will attempt to poke holes in one’s total disability claim. It can also be helpful for documentation of the condition to be coupled with communication with a disability insurance attorney, who can advise one on when and how to file a successful total disability claim, in the event that the arthritis no longer allows one to practice.

Summary

Due to its wide scope, and the nature of the disease, it’s not hard to think of a friend or family member that is afflicted with arthritis. Its commonness doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, and having a support system of family, friends, colleagues, and medical professionals is crucial to coping with the limitations and treatments of OA, RA, and PsA.

All of these conditions can impact more than just your personal health. It’s important to consider how arthritis will impact work, daily life, and finances. Being educated in what the next steps after diagnosis should be, including potentially filing a disability insurance claim, will help you to be prepared for any challenge that comes.


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References   [ + ]

1. See Osteoarthritis of the Hand in http://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/osteoarthritis-of-the-hand
2. See Rheumatoid Arthritis in http://www.ezhealthmd.com/medical-conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/
3. See What causes psoriasis? in http://www.laserdermatologynyc.com/psoriasis-treatment.aspx

Patrick Stanley Selected as a Sustaining Member of Arizona’s Finest Lawyers

PatAFL

 

Firm member Patrick Stanley, whose practice areas include disability insurance and healthcare litigation, was selected as a Sustaining Member of Arizona’s Finest Lawyers. Nominations to Arizona’s Finest Lawyers are governed by strict ideologies and are made by Sustaining Members, selectees, and members of the Executive and Advisory Boards. The AFL seeks to build a diverse membership of individuals who, through noteworthy achievement, have reached positions of honor and trust. A Sustaining Member must be highly skilled, have a well-known reputation for honor and professional behavior, and be dedicated to AFL’s mission and goals.


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Wearable Fitness Trackers and Disability Insurance Litigation: How Your Fitbit Could Help or Hurt Your Claim

Recently, courts have been exploring the use of data from wearable fitness trackers in litigation.  Devices like the FitBit, Jawbone UP, and Nike Fuelband have the capability to track all kinds of fitness-related data, such as steps taken, heart rate, temperature, calories burned, and sleep patterns.  In cases where someone’s physical abilities are at issue, as is often the case with disability insurance claims, this data can be valuable.  But who is this data most valuable to–the claimant or the insurance company?  And is that value outweighed by a claimant’s right to privacy?  These are questions yet to be fully addressed.

Benefits and Drawbacks.  For claimants, data from a wearable fitness tracker could be a great way to show how a disability has caused a cessation or downward trend in activity. Providing the data to an insurance company may give a better picture, over a longer period of time, than any single doctor’s visit or Independent Medical Examination.

On the other hand, providing wearable fitness tracker data to an insurance company could hurt a claim in several ways.  First, if your disability isn’t the type that would prevent you from walking (such as a hand injury, vision problems, orthopedic injuries where movement is part of physical therapy, etc.), step counts could be irrelevant. Nevertheless, data showing a high step count can give an insurance claims adjuster or a jury the erroneous impression that you are very physically active and thus not “disabled.”

Second, for claimants that haven’t accurately described their limitations to the insurance company, the tracker’s data can be presented as objective evidence that the claimants weren’t telling the truth.  For instance, if a claimant wrote on a claim form that he “never” walks for more than 10 minutes at a time, then he has a very unusual day where he had to walk for 30 minutes, the insurance company could use the fitness tracker data to argue that the claimant is a liar.  (In such a scenario, the claimant should have told the insurer that he “rarely” walks more than 10 minutes, or that he tries to avoid doing so, as opposed to saying he “never” does).

Third, inaccurate data could lead the insurer to make inaccurate conclusions. Wearable fitness trackers aren’t perfect.  Step trackers tend to log movements other than walking as steps, such as when the wearer raises her arms up and down.  Heart rate monitors will track increases in heart rate that are the result of mental or emotional stress in the exact same way they track increases caused by physical exertion.  There is also the possibility of human error that affects the accuracy of the data.  For example, if you forget to turn your device into “sleep” mode, it can’t track how restless your sleep is.

When Data Can Be Required.  An insured may or may not want to provide fitness tracking data to an insurance company voluntarily, but if the insurance company requests it, does the claimant have to comply?  The answer is less than clear.

In the claim context (when no litigation has ensued), the insurance company can only impose requirements covered in the policy.  Of course, policies don’t explicitly state that a claimant has to provide fitness tracker data–at least not yet.  However, an insurance company could argue that policy clauses requiring you to “cooperate” with the claims investigation or provide “proof of loss satisfactory to us” include a requirement to produce this type of data.  In those instances, it’s best to have an attorney evaluate the request to see if it is, in fact, required under the policy.

If a lawsuit has been filed, the insurance company may have more leeway when it comes to requesting wearable fitness tracker data.  While it is doubtful that an insurer could force a claimant to wear a tracker if he or she isn’t already, it’s easy to imagine a case where an insurer requests existing data from a device that a claimant already uses.

In federal courts, where most disability insurance cases are litigated, the insurance company can ask for any information that is relevant, or reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of information that is relevant, to the claims or defenses in the case. The only exceptions are for things like privileged information (such as communications with your attorney) or requests that cause undue annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or burden.

For data stored online, insurers could subpoena the data directly from the device manufacturer.  Fortunately, some fitness tracker manufacturers have already publicly stated that they will resist such subpoenas to the extent possible.  Insurance company lawyers are more likely to request that data from the claimant directly, in which case it becomes very important for the claimant’s attorney to evaluate whether that request is allowed under court rules.


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What Is A Discretionary Clause?

Discretionary clauses grant your insurance company substantial discretionary authority to interpret your policy and determine your eligibility for disability benefits.  If your disability policy contains a discretionary clause and your insurance company denies your claim, courts will generally be reluctant to overturn the denial.

Here is an example of a discretionary clause taken from a Unum policy:

DISCRETIONARY ACTS

The Plan, acting through the Plan Administrator, delegates to Unum and its affiliate Unum Group discretionary authority to make benefit determinations under the Plan. Unum and Unum Group may act directly or through their employees and agents or further delegate their authority through contracts, letters or other documentation or procedures to other affiliates, persons or entities.  Benefit determinations include determining eligibility for benefits and the amount of any benefits, resolving factual disputes, and interpreting and enforcing the provisions of the Plan.  All benefit determinations must be reasonable and based on the terms of the Plan and the facts and circumstances of each claim.

It is easy to see why discretionary clauses are “highly prized” by disability insurance companies.[1]  Such clauses not only grant your insurance company the authority to interpret the provisions of your policy, but also the authority to resolve factual disputes. The practical consequences of this are obvious:  any close calls regarding ambiguous policy language or the seriousness of your disability will be resolved in the insurance company’s favor.

Discretionary clauses also make overturning a denial of benefits much more difficult.  If your policy has a discretionary clause, the court can generally only overturn your denial if you prove that the denial was an “abuse of discretion” because it was “illogical, implausible, or without support in . . . the record.”[2]  In contrast, if your policy does not contain a discretionary clause, the court generally conducts a “de novo,” or independent, review of your claim.[3]  In some cases involving discretionary clauses, courts that would normally be willing to overturn a denial under de novo review have been compelled to uphold the denial under the more exacting abuse of discretion standard.[4]

Not surprisingly, because the “abuse of discretion” is a high legal standard, the inclusion of discretionary clauses in disability policies dramatically reduces policyholders’ chances of successfully challenging a denial of benefits.  A 2004 study found that only 28% of lawsuits to overturn denials of benefits were successful if the policy included a discretionary clause.[5]  In contrast, policyholders won 68% of similar cases involving policies that did not have discretionary clauses.[6]

Insurance companies’ abuse of discretionary clauses has led several states to outlaw them.[7]  You should avoid policies which include discretionary clauses.  If you already have a policy which includes one, talk to your insurance agent about finding a new policy.



[1] See Rush Prudential HMO, Inc. v. Moran, 536 U.S. 355, 384 (2002).

[2] Saloma v. Honda Long Term Disability Plan, 642 F.3d 666, 667 (9th Cir. 2011).

[3] Id. at 673.

[4] See, e.g., Curtis v. Kansas City Life Ins. Co., 2011 WL 901992 (W.D. Ky. 2011).

[5] Brent Brehm and Corinne Chandler, California’s Ban on Discretionary Clauses in Disability and Life Insurance Policies, Advocate: Journal of Consumer Attorneys Associations for Southern California, June 2013.

[6] Id.

[7] The states that have outlawed discretionary clauses are:  California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming.  See American Health Insurance Plan’s (AHIP) “Limitations on the Use of Discretionary Clauses:  Summary of State Laws,” available at www.ahip.org.


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Disability Insurer Profiles: Great-West

Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company (“Great-West”) is the final disability insurance provider we will look at in our series profiling insurance companies that specifically market to physicians and dentists.

See our profiles of MassMutualMetLifeNorthwestern MutualGuardian, Hartford, and Standard.

Great-West, which also goes by the registered mark of “Great-West Financial,” was incorporated in 1907, and traces its roots to a Canadian parent company that was incorporated in 1891.  Due to the nature of the economy and other factors, many insurance companies have suffered substantial losses in the past few years, and Great-West is no exception.  Great-West’s net income recently dropped from 238.1 million in 2012 to 128.7 million in 2013.  Consequently, Great-West may be looking to substantially increase its profits by, for example, denying high paying disability claims.

Company:  Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company.

Location:  Greenwood Village, Colorado.

Associated Entities:  Great-West Lifeco Inc.; Great-West Lifeco U.S. Inc.; Great-West Life Assurance Company; Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company of New York; Great-West Capital Management, LLC; Great-West Funds, Inc.; GWFS Equities, Inc.

Assets:  $55.3 billion in 2013.

Notable Policy Features:  Great-West is the insurance company that provides group disability insurance for the American Dental Association (ADA), so if you have a Great-West policy, your claim will probably be governed by the terms of the ADA’s group disability policy.

Great-West frequently sends out notices of updates and changes to the underlying contract between the ADA and Great-West, so there is a chance that you may end up with insurance coverage that you did not bargain for at the point of sale.  Oftentimes these notices are full of legalese and insurance jargon, and may be difficult to understand.  Nevertheless, it is important for you to promptly review any notices you receive, because they may impact your disability coverage in significant ways.  If you receive such a notice and are unsure about what it means, an experienced attorney can explain how the changes outlined in the notice will impact your policy.

Additionally, if you have a Great-West policy, you should be aware that your policy may contain a very strict provision requiring you to obtain proper medical care for your condition.  For this reason, if you are thinking about filing a disability claim with Great-West, you should make sure that your medical treatment is both well-documented and “appropriate” under the policy’s terms.

Claims Management Approach:  How Great-West administers your claim will depend on the terms of the policy at the time you file your claim.  Because the terms of the ADA’s group disability policy are renegotiated on a regular basis, the terms of your policy will likely change over time.  Since your initial copy of the policy may no longer be accurate by the time you file your disability claim with Great-West, be sure to ask for a copy of the current version of your policy so that you know your rights under your policy.

These profiles are based on our opinions and experience. Additional source(s): Great-West Financial’s 2013 Annual Report; www.greatwest.com.


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Disability Insurer Profiles: Standard

Standard is another disability insurer we will look at that specifically markets its policies to physicians and dentists.

See our profiles of MassMutual, MetLife, Northwestern Mutual, Guardian, and Hartford.

StanCorp Financial Group (“StanCorp”) was founded in 1906 and uses the marketing name “The Standard” to refer to its primary subsidiaries, which include the Standard Insurance Company and the Standard Life Insurance Company of New York.  In 2013, StanCorp received $351.7 million in pre-tax income, and $272.4 million (approximately 77%) of that income was attributable to profits from StanCorp’s insurance services.  StanCorp is particularly proud of its consistent long term growth and—given the fact that 77% of StanCorp’s profits come from its insurance services—StanCorp has an obvious incentive to deny high paying claims submitted by physicians and dentists.

Company: StanCorp Financial Group, Inc.

Location: Portland, Oregon.

Associated Entities: Standard Insurance Company; The Standard Life Insurance Company of New York; StanCorp Investment Advisers, Inc.; Standard Retirement Services, Inc.; StanCorp Mortgage Investors, LLC.

Assets: $22.73 billion in 2014.

Notable Policy Features:  If you are considering a Standard disability insurance policy, you should pay particular attention to whether the policy allows for total disability benefits if you are working in another occupation.  Oftentimes, Standard policies will pay nothing more than residual disability benefits if you are able to secure other part-time employment.  For example, if you can no longer practice dentistry, but you are able to teach classes at a dental college, Standard may refuse to pay you total disability benefits.  If you are eligible for residual benefits, Standard will require you to submit proof of your income every single month.

Read more about the difference between total disability benefits and residual disability benefits.

Claims Management Approach:  Standard tends to demand strict compliance with its claims procedures, and Standard will generally not be very accommodating if you make a mistake.  This can be problematic, because, for many policyholders, the claims process is unfamiliar and daunting.  If you are dealing with Standard, be sure to ask for a detailed explanation of what is required of you.  You should pay close attention to deadlines, as they will likely not be flexible.  You should also make sure that you use Standard’s forms when providing attending physician statements or other documentation of your disability, because Standard will not accept other insurers’ forms.

These profiles are based on our opinions and experience. Additional source(s): “Quick Facts About the Standard” and “About the Standard,” available at www.standard.com; StanCorp 2014 KBW Conference Presentation, available at investor.stancorpfinancial.com.


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Disability Insurer Profiles: Hartford

Hartford is the next disability insurer we will look at that specifically markets its policies to physicians and dentists.

See our profiles of MassMutualMetLifeNorthwestern Mutual, and Guardian.

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (“Hartford”) was founded over 200 year ago and now has more than 100 offices located throughout the U.S.  In 2013, Hartford’s revenues were approximately $26.2 billion.  However, in 2014, Hartford’s revenues dropped to $18.6 billion.  Given this significant decrease in revenue, Hartford will likely go to great lengths to avoid paying high paying claims submitted by physicians and dentists, and may even attempt to revoke disability benefits that it approved before the company experienced this dramatic drop in profits.

Company: The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.

Location: Hartford, Connecticut.

Associated Entities:  Hartford Fire Insurance Company; Hartford Life, Inc.; Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company; Hartford Casualty Insurance Company; Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company; Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Company; Hartford Life Insurance Company; Property and Casualty Insurance Company of Hartford.

Assets: $245 billion in 2014.

Notable Policy Features:  Hartford offers policies that define total disability as being unable to perform one of your prior substantial and material duties.  If your policy contains such a definition, it will be much easier for you to demonstrate that you are totally disabled.  In contrast, if your policy does not define total disability in this manner, you may have to prove that you cannot perform any of your prior substantial and material duties in order to receive total disability benefits.

Claims Management Approach:  Hartford only offers group disability policies (as opposed to individual disability policies).  This means that if you have a Hartford policy, it will probably be governed by ERISA.  For many reasons, it will likely be harder for you to obtain your disability benefits if your policy is governed by ERISA.

For example, normally, if you become disabled and you have an individual disability policy, you can collect your disability benefits without filing for Social Security.  However, if you have a Hartford group policy, your policy may require you to apply for Social Security benefits before you can receive your disability benefits.  Hartford requires its policyholders to apply for Social Security because, under ERISA, any Social Security benefits the policyholder receives automatically offset the amount of disability benefits Hartford must pay the policyholder.

Read more about how ERISA claims are treated differently than non-ERISA claims.

These profiles are based on our opinions and experience. Additional source(s): Hartford’s 2014 Annual Report; “The Hartford Fact Sheet (2013),” and “The Hartford Fact Sheet (2014),” available at www.thehartford.com.


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Disability Insurer Profiles: Guardian

In the last few posts, we’ve looked at a few of the most common disability insurance companies for doctors.  See our profiles of MassMutual, MetLife, and Northwestern Mutual.  Guardian is another disability insurer that specifically markets its policies to physicians and dentists.

Guardian has been around for over 150 years and is one of the largest individual disability income insurance providers in the United States. Guardian’s business model emphasizes the need for continuous growth, and Guardian reports that it has paid out dividends to its owners every year since 1868. To reach its goal of uninterrupted growth and live up to its owners’ expectations that it will pay out dividends each year, Guardian must not only maintain its past levels of profitability, but also come up with new ways to be more profitable. Obviously, from Guardians’ perspective, denying high paying claims submitted by physicians and dentists is an attractive method of increasing its profits.

Company: The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America.

Location: New York, New York.

Associated Entities: The Guardian Insurance & Annuity Company, Inc.; Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America; Guardian Investor Services, LLC; Park Avenue Securities LLC; RS Investment Management Co. LLC; Reed Group, Ltd.

Assets: $84.1 billion in 2013.

Notable Policy Features:  Guardian policies oftentimes attach a “Residual Disability Rider” to their policies. This rider could impact you in significant ways if you are partially disabled and considering part-time work. For instance, the residual disability rider to your policy might contain the following provisions:

Income. Income means your gross earned income, less business expenses, but before any other deductions. It includes salaries, wages, fees, commissions, bonuses, business profits or other payments for your personal services.”

“Prior Income. Prior income means your average monthly income for the tax year with the highest earning in the three years just prior to the date on which you became disabled.”

“Current Income. Current income means all income which you receive on a cash basis in each month while you are residually disabled.”

“Loss of Income. Loss of income means the difference between your prior income and your current income.”

“Residual Indemnity. Residual indemnity  =  (loss of income/prior income)  x  monthly indemnity.”

“Termination of Residual Indemnity. Residual indemnity will stop when the first of the following events occurs:

  • you become totally disabled; or
  • the benefit period ends; or
  • your loss of income is less than 20% of prior income . . . .”

When read together, these provisions essentially mean that if you are partially disabled and working in another occupation, Guardian includes the additional income earned in that occupation when determining your current monthly income. This is important because you could lose your residual disability benefits if, after adding in your additional income, your loss of income amounts to less than 20% of your prior income. If you have this residual rider in your policy, you should be aware that accepting part time work could jeopardize your ability to collect residual disability benefits.

Read more about residual disability benefits.

Claims Management Approach: Like many of the other insurance companies we have profiled, Guardian frequently conducts in-home field interviews, in an effort to catch you off guard and observe you in a state of activity that may not accurately reflect the severity of your condition. In-home field interviews also allow Guardian to collect personal information, such as your daily routine, hobbies and interests, names of friends and family, and work hours, so that its private investigators can more easily conduct surveillance of you.

If your claim involves a psychological disability, Guardian will likely require you to submit proof that you are being treated by a PhD level therapist, even if you have been working with a non-PhD level therapist for a significant period of time. Consequently, if you have a Guardian policy and are in need of therapy, you might want to consider consulting with a PhD level therapist from the start.

A final tactic frequently used by Guardian is the peer-to-peer call, which consists of Guardian directly contacting your treatment providers over the phone without your consent. This tactic is similar to the in-home field interview in the sense that it is an attempt to catch your treating physicians off-guard by ambushing them with detailed questions about your disability. Since these discussions take place over the phone, your treating physicians will likely not have an opportunity to provide well thought out, thorough answers, and there will likely be little, if any, documentation of the call. Although this tactic is alarming, it is easily countered. As we explained in a previous post, peer-to-peer calls can be preempted in most cases if you have your attorney notify the insurance company that all communications with your treatment providers must be coordinated through your attorney’s office.

These profiles are based on our opinions and experience. Additional source(s): Guardian’s 2013 Annual Report; Guardian Fact Sheet 2013; guardianlife.com.


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Ed Comitz Selected as one of Arizona’s Top 100 Lawyers by Az Business Magazine

 

Top 100 Lawyers - Az BusinessTop 100 Lawyers - EOC

Attorney Ed Comitz, the head of the healthcare and disability insurance practice at Comitz | Beethe, was chosen by Az Business as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Arizona. Attorneys throughout the state were nominated by their firms and their peers.  From that pool of over 1,000 attorneys, the editorial team and industry experts narrowed down the list to the 100 top lawyers in the state based upon their professional success, impact on the firm, impact on the community and impact on the legal profession.

 


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Disability Buyout Policies

Have you ever wondered about disability buyout insurance for doctors and dentists?

Attorney Patrick T. Stanley gives a comprehensive overview of these policies on Comitz Beethe’s healthcare transactions and litigation blog.

Check it out and contact Mr. Stanley with your questions: Disability Buyout Insurance–Protecting Yourself and Your Partners.


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