New Advances in Chronic Pain Treatment

If you are living with chronic pain, you know the stress and suffering that results. Chronic pain research continues and treatments still have a long way to go. However, researchers have made some significant gains in understanding and treating chronic pain in recent years, resulting in a new classes of drugs and treatments to help alleviate pain. Today, I am going to discuss some new therapies to explore how you may be able to reduce your pain and improve your life.   Continue reading

Protect Yourself Against A Functional Capacity Evaluation

In addition to IME’s (Independent Medical Examinations) insurance companies are also known to use Functional Capacity Evaluations, known as FCE’s, to analyze a claimant’s disability.  These evaluations assess the ability to perform a series of tasks which simulate customary job duties and determine the extent to which the claimant can complete these job duties on a regular basis.  FCE’s can have different focuses and purposes and be referred to as Physical Capacity Evaluations, Work Capacity Evaluations, or Disability Assessments, but they all mean the same thing: the insurance company is attempting to use a biased and flawed evaluation system to challenge the statements of you and your doctor about your ability to return to work.   Continue reading

6 Tips To Keep Your Disability Claim Moving

One of the biggest red flags a claimant can inadvertently create in their disability claim is to move.  While there are many legitimate reasons someone can move, claim examiners have been trained to closely scrutinize a case where a claimant moves.  New sets of arguments and investigative avenues are opened for the insurance company to use against you.  As anyone who’s moved can tell you, moving is difficult at best.  And the last thing someone needs, who is already trying to move while dealing with their disability, are new and additional hassles from their disability insurance company, not to mention the added stress of worrying that their benefits will be delayed or stopped.  If you’re currently applying for or receiving disability benefits, there are several issues we think you should understand as well as a few tips on how to keep the disability claim process moving smoothly during this stressful time.   Continue reading

Doctor’s Corner: Behind a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosis

As many professional jobs become more and more computer-based, disabilities that involve nerve, muscle or tendon damage in the hands have become a major issue.  These conditions prevent people from typing reports, replying to e-mails, and completing the day-to-day tasks of their jobs.  These conditions can range from work modifications to a short-term disability, simply requiring a short period of rest away from the office and the stresses of work, to a total and permanent disability.  One common condition causing such disability claims is carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).  In today’s blog, I am going to walk through the information many doctors will look for and use in writing a report for your disability insurance company.  Even if you aren’t suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, this article can be useful to show the steps an examiner follows when diagnosing your condition. Continue reading

Does the Affordable Care Act Affect Your Disability Insurance?

With last week’s Supreme Court ruling confirming the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), informally referred to as Obamacare, it’s now time to start looking forward to the parts of PPACA that have not yet taken effect and analyze the repercussions.  While it may not directly affect the disability insurance market, the PPACA will affect every individual currently receiving benefits.  Health insurance is an important part of physical and financial well-being, and the PPACA dramatically changes how we view health insurance in this country.  In the opinion of our firm, the PPACA helps most individuals, especially those people who are experiencing substantial medical problems in their lives.  Today I am going to break down the PPACA into its 10 Titles and touch on how each title may affect disabled individuals and specifically how they relate to disability insurance claims.  Continue reading

Defining and Decoding “Appropriate” Care

Disability insurance claim examiners often bring up the issue of “appropriate care” when questioning benefit claims and often use this same term as an excuse to deny claims.  Many claimants do not properly understand this term and how it can be used by the insurance company to manage your disability claim.  Older disability policies used to require that a claimant be under the “regular care” of a physician and required little more.  As insurance companies seek more control over disability claims and their direction, this policy language has been changed to “appropriate care,” which has a much more stringent definition.  Regular care was usually based on a time perspective, ensuring disabled claimants were receiving some sort of recurring medical treatment.  The shift to “Appropriate care” has given the insurance companies the liberty to retain their own experts to decide if the claimant’s choice of treatments or physicians is “appropriate” for the condition. 

The motivating factor behind this change is control of your disability claim.  If insurance companies have the latitude to decide what care is (or isn’t) appropriate, they can influence your medical care and treatments with the goal being to reduce the length and amount of the claim, either by discounting the medical support presented by the claimant or by making a disabled claimant return to work no matter the treatment risks or if the claimant is actually ready and able.  Several factors are taken into account by the insurance companies when determining appropriate care.  Knowing these factors and what to look for can allow you to receive the appropriate care from professionals of your choice rather than that dictated by the insurance company.

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