A delay in the attending physician’s statement can delay your insurance application

An attending physician’s statement (APS) is a report ordered from your family doctor, and it is a common requirement for insurance applications. Insurers may order an APS as part of standard requirements or to explore information received from your required insurance health interview or paramedical testing. The underwriting service will generally send a request to your physician and then follow up every couple of weeks. If your physician hasn’t provided the APS after several follow-ups, the insurer may request that you intervene. If an APS remains outstanding, your application may be closed.

A delay in receiving the APS will delay the insurer’s decision on your application. It’s not uncommon for an applicant to complete health testing within a few weeks and then wait several more weeks for their physician to provide a required APS. The underwriter must then review the APS and may need further information from the original physician or another source, increasing delay. 

A delayed application decision can increase expense and risk to you. If you are obtaining new term-life insurance to replace an existing policy that has renewed at higher cost, you should maintain your existing coverage until new coverage is in effect. An extra month waiting for a new application to be approved may mean hundreds of dollars in renewal premiums for insurance that could otherwise have been canceled sooner.

Delays in underwriting may also impact your ability to qualify for insurance. When accepting an approved policy, you must typically disclose any personal health changes since the date you signed your application. Even a seemingly benign event may cause the underwriter to postpone settlement of your coverage and conduct a review. If you’ve visited your doctor for a routine physical or another reason, the underwriter will ask if there are test results or recommended follow-up.

Our administrators see many cases where a member is approved for insurance, then discloses on the 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, and this can delay settlement of your new coverage or even cause the insurer to withdraw their approval. A promptly received APS helps minimize the time you wait for a decision on your application and reduces your risk of a health change during that time.
—Laura McLean
Client Services Administrator, Members’ Products and Services, Doctors of BC


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Laura McLean. A delay in the attending physician’s statement can delay your insurance application. BCMJ, Vol. 65, No. 6, September, 2023, Page(s) - News.

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