It sounds like a good idea. You are unable to work and long disability insurance will pay you a portion of your annual salary. At least that is what CIGNA insurance promised Susan Kristoff.
When Kristoff found herself battling cancer she found that she would also have to battle CIGNA insurance for the protection she had paid them for and that they had promised her. To attorney Alicia Paulino-Grisham it is not surprising to find her clients, who have been denied their disability benefits, have already lost their home, car, job, and are mired in bankruptcy.
The incentive for long term disability insurance companies is to drag out the process as long as possible. Few attorneys will handle this type of case because they know that the laws favor the insurance companies. The insurance companies know that it is difficult to fight a disability claim rejection because if the case falls under the federal Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) the insured cannot sue for attorney fees nor can they sue for punitive damages, which makes it extremely difficult to find an attorney who is willing to take on such a case.
Someone who has been disabled and is without any financial aid whatsoever will be forced to take a job, in which case the insurance company feels redeemed for making the right call. However, that person will soon be fired for being unable to perform the required job tasks due to their disability.
Often the denial is because of a missed deadline. Sometimes it is that the person wrote ‘breast cancer’ for the reason, when they should have written ‘cancer had metastasized and eaten a hole in her hip’. People are typically too sick to battle the insurance companies and the adversial role they are placed in requires too much of their energy. Unless they have an advocate they become easy targets for the insurance companies.
Recently attorney James Roche wrote U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, that if nothing else insurers or employers be required to fully inform workers on the appeals process. He went on to say that because currently they cannot recover attorney fees he would like to see that portion of the law changed too.