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How Can I Protect Myself At A Hartford IME Exam?



Attorney Rachel AltersAuthor: Attorney Rachel Alters

In this video, disability insurance attorneys Rachel Alters and Cesar Gavidia discuss what you can expect at an IME exam requested by The Hartford disability insurance company. The information they discuss is applicable to an IME exam requested by most disability insurance companies. You need to take extreme precautions if your have been requested to attend one of these mandatory exams. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your claim and how we can assist you.

There are 10 opinions so far. Add your comment below.

Richard:

Why Use the term “Independent” medical exam? Since it is the insurer who hires the medical doctor for the exam and also pays that doctor, I would hardly call that independent.

Sandi Kubler:

I wish I had seen this prior to my CME examination requested by Assurant. My exam was in March of 2014 and I got LTD award from Assurant after my examination. However in May of this year (2015), they out of the blue sent me a letter of denial, basing it on four facts: 1. They claim I failed the CME 2. I missed ONE Dr.s appointment in 2014 3. I missed ONE refill of one of my medications 4. One of my physicians, my psychiatrist noted that on one of my visits, I was “although slow and unsteady in my gait, I was not using my cane”. My questions are: 1. If I failed the CME, why did they pay me for over a year with benefits? 2. I did miss a Dr. appt because part of my disability affects my ability to remember things greatly. As soon as I realized I had missed my appointment, I rescheduled but he was on vacation so my appointment was put off for another month before I could get in to see him. 3. I missed the refill because my medication is a narcotic and I had to see my Dr. for another presciption (which he doubled the dosage on because my pain had increased so greatly). 4. I did not use my cane at my Psychiatric appointment because I had just had rotator cuff surgery on that shoulder and COULDN’T use my cane as it caused too much pain. I have an attorney fighting my denial now, but really wish I had had the forethought to have a private videographer for my CME!!!! That would’ve been a great help. I hope more people read this or watch this video to get educated and retain an attorney EARLY, right when they start their disability claim for LTD Benefits from any workplace disability insurer.
Also, even though I have multiple physical illnesses/diseases, they seem to have based my case focusing only on the depression aspect of it, as my psychiatrist told me that yes, he did state that I wasn’t using my cane, but that he had also added that my anxiety was greatly increased from my last visit. However, they chose to “cherry pick” what they used from his statement.
Finally, I would like to add that I was approved for total Social Security Disability even before my CME testing in March of 2014. I applied in August when I went out of short term disability and was approved in September of 2013.

TLS:

I did not have any guidance on what to expect from the Hartford IME and assumed that given the medical records provided that I’d get a fair impartial examination. Don’t assume that the independent medical examiner will do anything more than find away to write a report that you are not disabled and should return to work yesterday!
My IME was a retired MD who moonlighted as a Hartford IME, he was paid $1,200.00 for a 1 hour exam that included him making me do various range and motion activities until I was physically hurt when he pushed my head to the left side that I experienced increased pain. He also had a premedical USF student in the exam room and used my exam to explain the various exam items in terms that I or my wife could understand. We were treated with indifference and somewhat belittled by the way he talked down to us.
It was obvious he was a Hartford hired gun to write reports that enable Hartford to terminate disability benefits. My pain management doctor whom I’ve been a patient for 7 yrs. was sent a form requesting his response to the IME report in 10 days. Until this IME report I was notified every time hart requested any information from every doctor, therapist, MRI provider, etc. but this time I was not notified until after their 10 days deadline had pasted and they made their decision based on the IME report to terminate disability benefits. Subsequently I discovered my pain management doctor had responses requesting that I under go additional testing to verify the advancement of my desease but Hartford conviently claims they never received it and even a faxed log & stamp with initials of the office employee whom faxed it was good enough for them to reconsider their decision.
Beware of the IME examination it is a path to canceling your benefits, consult a disability attorney before going and pay for a videographer to document the examination. It’s amazing how a single examination can override all the years of medical evidence supporting your disability!
Lastly, Hartford staff will befriend you to try and find some way they can terminate your benefits, I won’t be surprised to find out they are given bonuses based on the number of cases they can terminate over a given period.
Thank god SSDI doesn’t treat us as badly as Hartford

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

TLS,

Thank you for sharing your story. After the accepted the information from your pain management doctor, did Hartford overturn its denial?

Tammy V.:

I was a firefighter/paramedic. I had the Hartford STD and LTD for approx. 5 years. I have had 3 back and neck surgeries having a total of 4 cervical and 8 thoracic vertebrae replaced. I have been under surveillance from them, they came to my house and questioned me., and finally had me go to an IME. Even though I had 2 doctors say I could not work, Dr Batas said I could. He said I could do a lot of the things that I cannot physically do. My disability was then terminated. The best part was when they sent me the letter stating last month was your last check. Since then, we have struggled to pay our bills, buy food, and even pay the co-pays for the doctors, and medicine that I need.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Tammy, please contact our office to discuss your appeal rights.

Fuzz:

Hartford terminated my long-term disability benefits because they sent fOrms by to be filled out by my treating physician and returned in 5 days but he didn’t make the deadline because they sent them to the wrong address. After sending and receiving everything from the correct address for over 2 years and now they tell me they sorry but I would have to submit a written letter of appeal and that they would review my case. That’s all they could do but that it’s their fault that the forms went to the wrong address to start with. I should have enough reason to sue them for what they are putting me and my family through because of this, it couldn’t have been a mistake because everything was going to and coming back from the same address for over 2 years, they meant to do this!

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Fuzz, Hartford only provides one level of appeal following a denial of benefits so it is imperative you file a complete appeal. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss how we may be able to assist you in appealing the denial.

DWT:

How many IMEs can Hartford make you go through? I have had one and they doctor approved me. Now Hartford wants me to do another even though my condition is considered deteriorated. If the doctor approves me, what keeps Hartford from just making me go through IME after IME?

Attorney Jay Symonds:

DWT, most group policies allow the carrier to request that you be examined as frequently as they deem reasonable and necessary to make a determination on your claim and ongoing eligibility for benefits. At some point it would become unreasonable to request another IME. I suggest you contact our office and speak with one of the attorneys to address the specific questions you have regarding your situation.

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