The attending physician’s statement – an important step in many insurance applications

An attending physician’s statement (APS) is a report that insurance companies may request from your family doctor as part of your insurance application. The insurer may require an APS as one of their standard requirements or to investigate information received from your health interview or paramedical testing. The underwriting service will send a request to your doctor and follow up until the report is received. If your doctor hasn’t provided the APS after several weeks, the insurer may ask you to contact the doctor’s office with a reminder. If the APS remains outstanding, your insurance application may be closed.

A delay in receiving an APS will delay the insurer’s decision on your application. It’s common for applicants to complete their health testing within a few weeks and then wait several more weeks for their physician to provide the required APS. The underwriter must then review the APS and may need further information from the original physician or another source. This further increases the delay and can increase expenses and risks for you. Suppose you are obtaining new term-life insurance to replace an existing policy that has been renewed at a higher cost. In such a case, you should maintain your existing coverage until new coverage is in effect. Waiting an extra month for a new application to be approved may mean hundreds of dollars in renewal premiums for insurance that could have been canceled sooner.

Underwriting delays can also affect your ability to qualify for insurance. When accepting an approved policy, you must typically disclose any personal health changes since you signed your application. Even a seemingly minor health event may cause the underwriter to postpone your coverage settlement and conduct a review. If you’ve recently visited your doctor for a routine physical or another reason, the underwriter will ask if there are test results or recommended follow-up. We have seen many cases where a member is approved for insurance and then discloses on their health statement that they recently sought treatment for a minor illness or injury. Each added week of underwriting is another week in which your health may change, which can delay the settlement of your new coverage or even cause the insurer to withdraw their approval. A promptly received attending physician’s statement can help the underwriter decide on your application sooner, so your new insurance can start protecting you.
—Laura McLean
Client Services Administrator, Members’ Products and Services, Doctors of BC


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Laura McLean. The attending physician’s statement – an important step in many insurance applications. BCMJ, Vol. 66, No. 4, May, 2024, Page(s) - News.

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