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Are Cigna Short Term Disability Denials on the Rise?

When it comes to claims for short term disability benefits under ERISA governed group policies, more often than not the short term disability policy is not underwritten by an insurance company, but rather it is administered by an insurance company. What this means is when a policy is underwritten by an insurance company the insurance company financially funds the disability benefit to be paid from its own assets; and in situations where an insurance company administers a short term disability policy, the insurance company will make all claims handling decisions as to whether a claim is to be approved or denied, but the actual disability benefit is to paid by the insured’s employer.

Although it is only my opinion, I believe that in situations where an insurance company administers the STD plan for an employer, fewer short term disability claims are denied simply because of the fact the actual disability benefit isn’t coming out of the pocket of the insurance company. However, it is very common to see a denial of benefits by an insurance company when STD ends and the long term disability period begins as now the insurance company is responsible for paying the benefits. In denials that occur during the transition period between short to long term disability period most people are rightfully confused as to how medical information that resulted in the award of short term disability benefits is now being used to deny the long term disability benefit.

Recently, however, I have noticed an increase in short term disability claim denials by Cigna that occur several weeks before the transition into long term disability. In denying a claim prior to the end of the short term disability benefits period, Cigna is giving itself more opportunities to build a case against an insured for potential further claim denials into the future as the denial allows Cigna to conduct additional reviews of the claim in response to any administrative appeals submitted. I have recently successfully appealed three short term disability denials with Cigna. In winning these appeals the only benefit that is initially secured are the past due short term disability benefits. Cigna does not automatically approve the claim for long term disability benefits following a successful appeal for short term disability benefits, even if the period of time that has passed would place the insured well within the long term disability benefit period. Rather, Cigna begins a separate review for entitlement to long term disability benefits. With this review comes the opportunity for Cigna to have another bite of the apple when trying to find a way to deny benefits; potentially forces the filing of more administrative appeals; results in more time being wasted and more financial hardship is incurred by the insured.

Needless to say this “delay” tactic has very real consequences for individuals who have already been without benefits for a significant period of time. Given this new trend in short term disability denials, your administrative appeal becomes all the more important, as not only are you establishing entitlement to past due short term benefits, but also building your case and arguing for entitlement to long term disability benefits to avoid and/or limit Cigna’s ability to deny the long term disability claim.

If your short term disability claim has been denied by Cigna do not hesitate to contact our office to consult with one of our disability insurance attorneys.

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FAQ

Do you help Cigna claimants nationwide?

We represent Cigna clients nationwide and we encourage you to contact us for a FREE immediate phone consultation with one of our experienced disability insurance attorneys.

Can you help with a Cigna disability insurance policy?

Our disability insurance lawyers help policy holders seeking short or long term disability insurance benefits from Cigna. We have helped thousands of disability insurance claimants nationwide with monthly disability benefits. With more than 40 years of disability insurance experience we have helped individuals in almost every occupation and we are familiar with the disability income policies offered by Cigna.

How do you help Cigna claimants?

Our lawyers help individuals that have either purchased a Cigna long term disability insurance policy from an insurance company or obtained short or long term disability insurance coverage as a benefit from their employer.

Our experienced lawyers can assist with Cigna:

  • ERISA and Non-ERISA Appeals of Disability Benefit Denials
  • ERISA and Non-ERISA Disability Benefit Lawsuits
  • Applying For Short or Long Term Disability Benefits
  • Daily Handling & Management of Your Disability Claim
  • Disability Insurance Lump-Sum Buyout or Settlement Negotiations

Do you work in my state?

Yes. We are a national disability insurance law firm that is available to represent you regardless of where you live in the United States. We have partner lawyers in every state and we have filed lawsuits in most federal courts nationwide. Our disability lawyers represent disability claimants at all stages of a claim for disability insurance benefits. There is nothing that our lawyers have not seen in the disability insurance world.

What are your fees?

Since we represent disability insurance claimants at different stages of a disability insurance claim we offer a variety of different fee options. We understand that claimants living on disability insurance benefits have a limited source of income; therefore we always try to work with the claimant to make our attorney fees as affordable as possible.

The three available fee options are a contingency fee agreement (no attorney fee or cost unless we make a recovery), hourly fee or fixed flat rate.

In every case we provide each client with a written fee agreement detailing the terms and conditions. We always offer a free initial phone consultation and we appreciate the opportunity to work with you in obtaining payment of your disability insurance benefits.

Do I have to come to your office to work with your law firm?

No. For purposes of efficiency and to reduce expenses for our clients we have found that 99% of our clients prefer to communicate via telephone, e-mail, fax, GoToMeeting.com sessions, or Skype. If you prefer an initial in-person meeting please let us know. A disability company will never require you to come to their office and similarly we are set up so that we handle your entire claim without the need for you to come to our office.

How can I contact you?

When you call us during normal business hours you will immediately speak with a disability attorney. We can be reached at 800-682-8331 or by email. Lawyer and staff must return all client calls same day. Client emails are usually replied to within the same business day and seem to be the preferred and most efficient method of communication for most clients.

Dell & Schaefer Client Reviews   *****

Zane M.

Since day one I continue to have a very positive experience working with the Dell & Schaefer Law Firm. I am especially grateful to attorney Stephen Jessup who was assigned to my case in early 2010. Steven Jessup and Anneli (Registered Paralegal) are always available and very professional in managing my case in a timely manner. Steven explained the entire (LTD) process to me from day one when I became disabled and unable to work due to my disabilities and had my case approved very quick working with my LTD carrier. My health has worsened since then with a life threatening disease and several surgeries / conditions later. He always answers all of my questions in a timely manner and always has a positive outcome for me. I feel highly represented & grateful with Steve as my LTD attorney which enables me to take care of my health to the best of my abilities without worries.

Steve, I sincerely appreciate all you and Dell & Schaefer have accomplished for me from day one in representing me regarding my case in a very quick and timely manner. I would “most definitely recommend” Attorneys Dell & Schaefer to anyone in dire need of the best in legal representation & counseling in short & long term disability cases.”

God bless to you Steven, Anneli, Greg and all of the Dell & Schaefer Law Firm!

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