Northwestern Mutual Long-Term Disability Denial
The purpose of disability insurance is to help you in the event an accident or an illness prevents you from working. Unfortunately, many insurance companies like Northwestern Mutual are more interested in collecting premiums than paying disability benefits. Insurance companies often use unfair practices to delay payments or avoid paying claims altogether. If you received a Northwestern Mutual long-term disability denial, you don't have to accept it as the end of your claim.
How Does Short-Term and Long-Term Disability Insurance Work?
Northwestern Mutual offers both short and long-term disability policies that allow employees to supplement insurance coverage provided by their employers. Both types of disability insurance have an elimination period or waiting period between the time of your accident or illness and when the coverage begins. Typically, you have to use all your short-term disability benefits (if you have them) before you can collect long-term disability benefits.
Short-term disability waiting periods vary from a few weeks to a few months. The average waiting period for short-term disability insurance is one week. The waiting period for long-term disability insurance can be 30 to 90 days. Your employer may also require new employees to complete 30, 60, or 90 days of employment before they are eligible for disability coverage.
Filing a Long-Term Disability Claim With Northwestern Mutual
Filing a long-term disability claim with Northwestern Mutual or any insurance company can be a lengthy and sometimes confusing process. Take your time and read all the information carefully. Most importantly, note the deadlines for filing documentation.
Be sure all written reports from your physician and other health care professionals are accurate and easy-to-understand. It's important to include all the information you can that will help you prove your eligibility for long-term disability benefits.
Before you send in your disability claim, reread it and check to see that there are no blank spaces or missing information. Don't give the insurance company a reason to send back your insurance claim.
What Tactics Do They Use to Delay or Deny Claims?
Insurance companies are required to provide complete information about the application process, answer your questions, and make decisions in a timely manner. However, that's not always the case. Here are just a few tactics insurance companies may use to delay or deny your long-term disability benefits:
- Independent Medical Evaluation (IME): It's the insurance company's prerogative to ask that you undergo an exam by an independent doctor but the doctor may be on Northwestern's payroll or might be a physician they use often. In these cases, the doctor represents the insurance company's interests rather than your interests.
- You're Not Disabled Enough: An insurance company may claim that your disability is not severe enough to qualify for benefits. Or they claim that your medical records don't include enough information to support your claim. This might be one of the outcomes of an IME.
- Duplicate Documentation: Insurance companies like Northwestern Mutual often repeatedly request documents you have already provided. Your claims representative may claim the documents were lost or that they never received them. It's important that you keep copies of everything you submit and a record of when and how you provided the information.
- Delaying Claim Decisions: You should receive a decision regarding your long-term disability claim within a reasonable amount of time. Read your policy carefully and look for information about response or processing guidelines.
Why do insurance companies use these tactics? They hope you'll give up trying to get long-term disability benefits if they make the claims process difficult. But an LTD attorney can help you appeal a Northwestern Mutual long-term disability denial.
What Should I Do If My Claim Was Denied?
As a policyholder, make sure you are familiar with the terms of your policy. Read it carefully, especially the "fine print." Be sure you understand how the insurance company defines disability, what benefits your policy provides, and how long you're eligible to receive benefits.
- Keep copies of all the information you provide to your insurance company.
- Be sure your medical records are complete and up-to-date.
- File all documentation on time. The insurance company may use missed deadlines as a reason to deny your claim.
- Ask questions. The insurance company must provide you with information about your benefits and how to file claims. You may also talk to your human resources representative for additional information.
If you believe Northwestern Mutual is using unfair tactics to delay or deny your claim, an experienced disability attorney can be a valuable resource.