Better Medical Reports for Life Insurance

By: Michael Challiner
In about every four in ten cases when someone applies for Life Insurance, the insurer has to obtain a medical report from a General Practitioner.

They need the reports when someone has declared that they have a medical condition on their life insurance application form. The applicant then has to give consent that the insurance company can gain a medical report from their GP. The GP gets called on to supply information about the specifics of that medical condition and any other relevant information.

But despite the fact that these are often costly to get hold of for insurance companies, there have been cases where GPs have not been supplying the quality information that they need. In some cases, they simply print out the computerised records of their patients and send them to the insurers.

This is not just a problem because insurers have paid the doctors to supply specific reports, but that this approach means that they often do not get the specific information they need. And on top of this, the GP winds up breaching their patient’s confidentiality because the insurance company gets extra information about the applicant’s medical state that they do not need to know.

It is a situation both the British Medical Association (BMI) and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) would not want to occur and goes against the agreement between both parties that medical information could be obtained for the purpose of Life Insurance applications.

But because of concerns, a new agreement between both the BMI and ABI has been made where GPs have to provide high quality reports to the insurance companies for fees that will consistently rise by 6% over five years.

The fees were re-set as part of the negotiation process for reports, supplementary reports and medical examinations.

An ABI spokesman for health insurance says that the reports help people to gain much needed health insurance, such as life insurance policies that they would otherwise not normally be able to obtain.

“This agreement is good news for customers because again the BMA has pledged to uphold high standards from doctors. This includes making sure that doctors fill in forms personally and accurately, rather than simply sending printouts of medical records, which does not give the insurer the information that it needs," he says. “The deal provides both stability and certainty."

For a GP report that needs to be obtained in the year from 2006 -2007, the cost is ?74.70. That increases to ?79.20 for the next year and ?84.00 after that. For a supplementary report the cost increases from ?19.10 this year, to ?20.20 the year after that and ?21.40 for the year after that again.

And medical examinations will this year cost ?82.20, increasing to ?87.10 in the year after that and then ?92.30 in the following year.

The BMA tells GPs as part of the guidance in the new agreement that they need to recognise that life assurance is a “social good" and of benefit to patients at significant points in their lives.

And that, as with other fee paid workArticle Submission, the reports should be completed thoroughly to justify the fees.

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