Updating Disability Insurance Conundrums

This morning I had a phone call from a lovely sounding young woman who will be my Disability Insurance Case/Claim Manager.  It was a really nice chat, and quite informative with regards to how things may work going forward.  She is working on the approval and doesn’t see any real challenges in the approval process.  One of the questions she asked  that caught me by surprise was her request that I describe to her the reasons why I shouldn’t be returning to work right now.  Be prepared for this question. It felt a bit bit odd at first, but I’m pretty sure that she was just trying to make sure that the employee, employer and physician are all speaking the same language and with one voice.  I know that I was being a bit of a brat by encouraging her to reach out to my doctors to hurry up the neuro psych evaluation.  She countered with a request for a listing of all the appointments currently scheduled, which I gave to her verbally.  I think we’re good.  I am not concerned about the approval, and I believe that she is on my side in terms of getting me back to work as soon as practical.  She also seems to be genuinely concerned that I don’t find myself back at my desk unable to do the job, facing failure.  I liked her.

I still have one question which I am going to follow up on almost immediately;  the question of international travel while drawing disability benefits.  There is a requirement to inform the insurer if one travels out of the country.  I’m just really curious what that is all about.  It may be in the wording.  I will look it up, but it may have said ‘leave the country’ as opposed to ‘travel outside the country’.  The lovely sounding young woman got back to me on this.  The intent is not to restrict or prevent travel, but rather to ensure that when travelling accommodation is made for rehab, therapy, doctor’s appointments, etc.  They are interested in protecting you, and your recovery, and then your long term health.  They will want your doctors to ‘sign-off’ on your fitness for travel.  This is a positive effort on their side.  Now to be fair, I did get the impression that this isn’t about that quick jaunt across the border for some cross border shopping.  This is about long term excursions that will affect your rehabilitation and any ongoing monitoring by your doctors.

the other, more pertinent piece of information that came out of this morning’s conversation is that benefits payments are made once per month.  This may pose a challenge for some folks, myself included.  My current payroll structure is for pay checks every two weeks, so that I get twenty six pay checks per year.  Things like my mortgage and other payments are scheduled to be withdrawn from my chequeing account one or two days after scheduled pay days.  So now I’m going to have to do a ‘reset’ on how a few of those work.  I also did some calendaring and realized that there will be a gap between last pay check and first benefit payment.  Oops.  Could be tight.  S I began by calling the bank to speak to my Account Manager to look into things like changing the mortgage payment schedule and to look into whether or not and then how the disability insurance we have on the mortgage works and can get triggered.  I ended up talking to a gentleman from the insurance side of the banking house who discovered that when we renewed the mortgage a year ago the disability insurance got dropped.  We still have the mortgage life insured, but no disability insurance.  Damn!  We’ve done the math, and theoretically we will be fine financially with just the disability benefits from salary insurance, but it will be ‘tight’ while we adjust the way we live. I should mention that we are pulling all the mortgage documents to review prior to meeting with the bank, because we can’t think why we didn’t ask for the insurance, and suspect that we did.  But we need to review the documentation.  interestingly enough we did get a letter from the credit card arm of the bank just the other day pleading mea culpa for not charging us for over a year for disability insurance on our credit card, but not to worry as they were going to be treating things treating things as if the insurance was in full force, and they won’t be asking for past premiums, but will be tacking it onto the monthly bill going forward.

Advice; right NOW check the status of your disability insurance on all your loans, mortgages, and leases.  Pick up the phone today and ask.  Don’t leave this until you actually need them, ‘cause you can’t qualify for the insurance coverage while you are on short term disability, or if you aren’t actually working. Get this sorted out right NOW!

Later in February, leading up to and through Valentine’s and Family Day weekend we’ve begun conversations with the bank about the insurance on the mortgage, the credit line and the credit card.  We’re dealing with really nice people, but the hoops we’re jumping through are getting just a wee bit silly.  From what I understand about insurance in Canada, and I do admit that I need to do a bit of research, but it seems like if you apply for and are refused insurance, or a claim is accepted or denied, the insurance provider registers their decision about you with a central insurance board.  This centralized organization maintains a file on you so that other insurers, or potential insurers can research and understand your history.  I understand the efficacy of doing this, so why hasn’t the Insurance Board figured out a way to share more information from their central database amongst licensed insurers so that claims can be processed more efficiently and in a more timely manner rather than forcing claimants to generate reams of paper and demanding that over worked and understaffed physicians provide multiple iterations of the same information?  Now seriously, why couldn’t we file all the pertinent information about my disability once, just once with that organization rather than having to provide separate blocks of paperwork to each individual insurer which is really just the same information presented in different manners and formats for each of the other insurers that we need to consult with to file for disability benefits?  At this time we are dealing with three different insurers; that’s three sets of paperwork each saying the same thing, in slightly different ways.  That’s also three different demands on the physicians who are trying to manage my care.

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