An Attending Physician’s Statement (APS) or as it’s commonly called, a doctor’s report is often requested by life insurance companies these days. It used to be infrequent, but with the advent of covid impacting Canadians willingness to have a paramedical person visit their home (and instead, wanting to do their entire application virtually) companies will now routinely order an APS for life insurance applications.
Don’t be concerned! Ordering an APS is simply a request for additional information. It isn’t recognition of potential medical issues, or a cause for concern.
In years past, an Attending Physician’s Statement request was far less common than they are today. Pre-covid, a medical exam consists of a paramedical person visiting you in your home or office and doing three things: A medical history questionnaire, a blood test, and a urine test. The urine test was used to test for drugs and nicotine (and a few other functions) and the blood test consisted of checking for about 40 different markers and levels.
But with the advent of covid, life insurance companies could no longer send parameds to visit people in their homes. The medical history questionnaire has been mostly replaced by a phone call, but the insurers have lost the ability to easily replace the blood and urine tests. So where else to get that information? And the answer is – your family doctor.
When you complete the medical history interview, even if you provide full details of your past medical history, there’ll still be information that you’re unable to provide. Things like exact conditions over long periods of time, as well as specific information found in blood tests. Even things like blood pressure and weight over time are things that most consumers simply won’t recall. Yet that information is necessary for underwriters to properly evaluate your application.
And that’s where the APS comes in. A report from your family doctor will have all of that information – all the information from previous doctor’s visits including results of blood tests, exact medication levels prescribed, as well as any technical diagnosis. Again, the blood and urine tests provided a snapshot of a lot of this information, but with the loss of access to that information, the APS is a good replacement.
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The answer then as to why they’re ordering an APS is primarily to replace the blood and urine tests that were previously done in-person, as well as to get detailed specifics on your past medical history that you’re unlikely to recall. All of this makes for a stronger application, as it lets underwriters evaluate and discard risk.
Don’t be concerned – your family doctor is paid for this service. Generally payment actually accompanies the request.
One further note – an APS request can slow down your application for life insurance. Doctors are busy, and often see APS requests from life insurance companies as low priority. If they let the request sit on their desk for weeks, then that’s weeks worth of additional delays before your policy can be issued. You can expedite this by simply calling or emailing your family doctor. You don’t need to pressure your doctor. Simply notify them that you’ve applied for life insurance, that the life insurance company has ordered an APS, and could they please make sure they received the request. That simple notification results in your family doctor appreciating that they’re completing the APS for you (their patient) instead of a life insurance company, and most family doctors are happy to expedite the APS simply based on that.