Founded in 1969, Dearborn National has over 1,100 employees nationwide and reports annual net revenues of nearly 1.4 billion and total assets of nearly 3.7 billion.
Formerly called Fort Dearborn Life Insurance Company, Dearborn’s parent company, Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), is acclaimed as the largest health insurer in the U.S. that is customer-owned (rather than owned by investors) and the fourth largest in the nation.
Dearborn National offers a broad selection of insurance and financial products for groups and individuals across the United States including employer-provided short and long-term disability (LTD).
Did Dearborn National Deny Your Long-Term Disability Benefits?
Every year, Dearborn National is guilty of denying a disturbing number of worthy long-term disability insurance claims.
They know that disabled claimants are vulnerable and are not in the best position to put up a fight.
Though their website appears that they are people-focused, what Dearborn National is most concerned about is their bottom line.
Dearborn disability claim denials are well known to our firm, but they often come as a surprise to the hard-working people who have paid into their policies expecting their benefits when they need them most.
Don’t Be Fooled by the Tactics Dearborn National Uses to Deny Worthy LTD Claims
If you decide to file your claim for disability benefits on your own, be aware that Dearborn often uses deceptive tactics to avoid paying out policies.
After reviewing your claim, don’t be surprised if Dearborn sends you a denial letter. It’s no secret that Dearborn denies the majority of initial LTD applications.
Or perhaps instead of an outright denial, they will claim to have not received needed medical records or send you requests for more information, delaying desperately needed benefits month after month.
3 Steps to Help You Avoid a Long-Term Disability Denial from Dearborn National
1. Meet Your Plan’s Definition of “Disability”
The definition of disability may differ depending on the plan your employer chooses.
Most plans have an “own occupation” or an “any occupation” definition of disability.
Your plan may consider your inability to perform any work tasks as a disability or you may be considered disabled if you are unable to perform the duties required for your own job/career.
It’s important to know which plan your employer chose prior to submitting a claim.
2. Gather All Medical Records That Will Support Your Claim
Your claim will pass through the hands of a disability claims examiner and an in-house reviewing doctor who will cherry-pick your medical records, selecting only the portions that will support a denial of your claim.
Submitting all of your medical records will guard against cherry-picking.
Your doctor(s) should be performing diagnostic tests like MRIs or CTs and recording the results in your file.
You should also have your doctor and attending specialists indicate any limitations that your injury/disability has caused you.
With this information, the insurance company will have trouble coming up with reasons to deny your claim.
3. Assume Dearborn National Has You Under Surveillance
Be aware while doing everyday activities like getting groceries or walking your dog. Dearborn National has deep pockets and will almost certainly hire a private investigator in hopes of catching you doing something that your disability should prevent you from doing. Sometimes it’s worth consulting an experienced LTD attorney because they will best be able to explain to the insurance company that the 10 minutes you were filmed having a “good day” is not indicative of your disability as a whole.
It is also best to avoid posting pictures or comments about your injury on social media. It may be hard to prove that a photo taken before your injury isn’t recent and comments you made about your disability may be taken out of context.
Am I Able to Appeal My Dearborn National Long-Term Disability Denial?
Fortunately, there is a way that you can fight back against unfair tactics by Dearborn National.
An insurance denial is not the end of your claim.
If Dearborn denies your LTD claim, you have every right to appeal their decision and fight for your benefits.
Because ERISA governs employer-provided group disability insurance plans, you are required to exhaust Dearborn’s internal appeals process before you will be allowed to file a lawsuit in court.
Your denial letter will tell you why the company decided to deny your claim and will outline how you can file an appeal as well as the deadline for doing so.
In most cases, you will have only 180 days to appeal their decision. Don’t miss this deadline! If you do, you will not be able to try to recover benefits for your disability from Dearborn in the future.
How Can a Long-Term Disability Attorney Help You After Dearborn National Denied Your Claim?
If you decide to file your claim on your own, be aware that the process isn't always easy.
Not having a long-term disability attorney makes you vulnerable to the insurance company giants and Dearborn knows this.
Gathering medical records from all of your doctors and remembering deadlines can be extremely difficult when all you feel is constant pain.
If you were denied by Dearborn, you need someone in your corner. Someone whose only interest is your best interest.
An experienced disability lawyer will ease the burden of hunting down medical records and filing reports.
They’ll keep track of Dearborn’s deadlines and fight for you to get the long-term disability insurance benefits you rightfully deserve.