Can I File A Claim For Long-Haul COVID?
COVID-19 was uncharted territory in many aspects of our lives, and disability insurance claims are no different. Most individual disability insurance policies have an elimination period (often 90 to 180 days) that makes it difficult to file a claim based upon the COVID-19 infection itself. But what about situations where COVID-19 complications result in long-haul symptoms and limitations?
What is Long-Haul COVID?
Long haulers (also referred to as COVID-19 syndrome or long COVID) are individuals whose symptoms of COVID-19 don’t go away, at least entirely. Lingering health problems can last for months. The most common lasting symptoms are fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, joint pain and chest pain. Other complications can include breathing issues, heart problems, kidney damage, lost or distorted sense of smell and taste, neurological problems, autonomic nervous system symptoms, blood clots, mental health issues, and diabetes. Further, many long-term effects remain unknown as researchers continue to study the disease.
Long-Haul COVID’s Impact On Doctors Ability to Work
As you can imagine, these complications may make it more difficult for a physician or dentist to meet the demanding requirements of his or her work. Individuals may begin to take measures to try and push through and continue to practice. The most common scenarios we see are practitioners who modify their occupation by limiting the type of procedures they perform (e.g., doing only exams instead of extractions), reducing hours, or taking extended time away from the practice.
Will Reducing My Hours Hurt My Claim?
If you fail to file a timely claim and/or changes to your work schedule have gone on long enough, your ability to collect disability benefits may be jeopardized. Under most policies, your insurance company will look to what your job duties were immediately prior to filing for disability and you can modify your occupation if you are not careful. In addition, some policies (typically employer plans) require that insureds work a certain number of hours each week in order to be eligible for benefits. Under these policies, taking extended breaks may cause an insured to lose coverage.
This highlights the importance of having a transition plan in place, especially if you feel any effects of long-lasting COVID-19 and worry that you will no longer be able to work in your usual fashion for an unknown period of time. If you have questions about long-term symptoms of COVID-19 and your disability policy, please feel free to contact one of our attorneys directly.
These posts are for informative purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with and diagnosis by a medical professional. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above and have yet to consult with a doctor, do not use this resource to self-diagnose. Please contact your doctor immediately and schedule an appointment to be evaluated for your symptoms.
American Medical Association