Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) play a crucial role in the success of a variety of medical procedures. They work in collaboration with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, podiatrists, and other professionals to ensure the safe administration of anesthesia. Some of their responsibilities include providing pain management, assisting with stabilization services, and overseeing patient recovery.
As critical as this job is, why is it so difficult for a nurse anesthetist to file for long-term disability?
Because the insurance company is looking at their case from a financial standpoint, they look at how much money it will cost them to provide a nurse anesthetist with benefits throughout the illness or disability. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2016) reported that the average salary for a nurse anesthetist is approximately $164,030 a year. The longer it could potentially take to get back to work, the more scrutiny the claim will have.
Tips to Get Your Claim Approved
Tip #1 Gather Strong Medical Evidence
Unlike family doctors, a nurse anesthetist is usually unfamiliar with the medical paperwork needed to file for long-term disability. Collect all the medical evidence from your doctors that are treating your disability. Be sure that your doctors are noting your pain levels on your chart, as this is not always common practice, but you will need this for your claim.
Nurse anesthetists monitor several patients at once, keeping them on their feet for hours at a time, and usually spend a reasonable amount of time working out each week to stay healthy. During the recovery period from their disability, this may not be an option. The excessive amount of rest needed to recover can be prolonged and cause depression. When seeking treatment for depression, be sure to include those medical records as well.
Tip #2 Anticipate Surveillance
Surveillance is completely legal. During the surveillance period, an investigator will stake out your house, talk to nearby neighbors about your daily activities and try to use that information against you in court; This is why it is imperative to not rush back into exercise routines or anything else that is very strenuous on the body during the claim period.
Tip #3 Stay Off Social Media
In our article here, we discuss the likelihood that social media accounts will be monitored. Your work schedule probably does not allow for social media. However, when you are at home with nothing to do but rest, you may be tempted to start an account. We suggest staying off social media entirely during the claim period. The insurance investigator will try to use social media accounts to deny your claim.
Tip #4 Do Not Try to Go Back to Work Too Fast
The amount of time spent recovering from a disability can be very dull and feel unproductive. The change from a very active schedule to weeks and months of rest can feel like a prison sentence. As a nurse anesthetist, you must resist the urge to go back to work too early. When you push yourself back into work before your body is ready physically and mentally, you are in danger of making a mistake that could cause more injury to your patients and land you in court.
Tip #5 Stay Organized
There is a lot of paperwork to keep track of when applying for long-term disability. Staying organized and saving all correspondence will help you if your claim is denied and you need to go to court. Create a binder or filing system for the following documents:
- Copy of your LTD policy;
- Copies of all letters from your insurance company and you to the insurance company;
- Why you can not perform your job duties (this will require medical documentation);
- A list of all medical providers that you have seen for this condition and a letter from each provider stating that your condition prevents you from working; and
- Letters that summarize all conversations (by phone or in-person) between you and the insurance company representatives, nurses, doctors, and your employer. Send copies to all parties involved in the communication via certified mail as proof it was received.
Keep everything chronological so that if your claim is denied, you have a complete record of how your claim was handled.
Request a Free Policy Evaluation
If you are considering purchasing a disability insurance policy or have recently purchased a policy, we will help you understand what you are entitled to and whether there are deficiencies in your coverage that could lead to a denied claim. It is easy for individual policyholders who are not trained to read insurance policies to misread or misunderstand the disability policy. As part of our evaluation, we will explain what everything means to you in your situation.
Some of the aspects of your policy we will review include:
- Total versus residual disability;
- Own occupation versus any gainful occupation;
- Mental and nervous disability benefit limitations; and
- Self-reported conditions benefit limitations.
Nurse anesthetists will find it challenging to get a long-term disability claim approved due to the substantial cost. The insurance company will try to find any reason to deny the claim. By providing strong medical evidence, keeping a low profile, and not rushing back to work too soon can create a solid case for disability.
Using an experienced disability attorney will help you protect yourself against insurance investigators. The Nick Ortiz Law Firm is based in Florida but represents claimants across the country. Receive a free consultation by calling (888) 321-8131 with no obligation. We can help you evaluate your claim to determine if you will be able to access Long-Term Disability Benefits and how to move forward with the process.