4 myths about your prescription history and life insurance coverage


Thanks that we reside in the 21st century instead of the 12th, prescription drugs are a a part of everyone's medical history. Be it taking a temporary course of antibiotics to get over strep throat, or a regular regimen of medicine to manage an ongoing condition like asthma, you – like lots of people – possess a prescription history. In the life insurance underwriting process, insurers review information about your way of life and health history to assess your overall health and accurately price your policy. For medically underwritten coverage (usually the least expensive type), prescription history is reviewed. Just how does the information in that prescription history affect just how much you'll pay for your life insurance?

The answer is: It depends in your individual circumstances. To help us demystify how prescription history is reviewed, we spoke to Ram Ballesteros, an underwriting product innovation lead at Haven Life. [FYI: all Haven Term coverage is issued by Haven Life's parent company MassMutual]

Myth #1: Certain medications automatically increase your rates

For starters, you can forget about any nagging worry in the back of your head that particular medications will automatically disqualify you from coverage or improve your rate.

“A prescription history isn't black-and-white,” says Ram. “The same medication that may be prescribed for any certain medical problem in one person could also be prescribed for any totally different condition in someone else, even in another field of drugs. Applicants are reviewed on an individual basis to obtain a better understanding of their own health situation.”

Myth #2: You are able to hide prescription history by not mentioning it

That said, you may also forget about omitting certain medications from your application in hopes of concealing them from an underwriter. Every major life insurance coverage company utilizes large databases of prescription histories as a standard, common practice-and the details are aggregated from primary sources like health insurers, pharmacies, and medical providers. That data is tightly regulated underneath the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act – “it's not just 'out there' like your social networking data may be,” says Ballesteros – but it's detailed.

So unless you are in the habit of purchasing prescription drugs on the black market, any life insurer are applying to for coverage is going to obtain a pretty truth of the medications you take, by simply accessing these existing medical databases, which they are only able to use your permission, of course.

Myth #3: Underwriters are searching for good reasons to charge you more

Ballesteros says that “honesty is the greatest policy” when trying to get insurance coverage, which pertains to what you disclose regarding your prescription history too. But it is not because the life insurance coverage clients are out to get you. “Underwriting is very complex, so we definitely wish to give our customers the benefit of the doubt all the time,” Ballesteros explains. “That means providing them with the opportunity to give us a feeling of their medical history in their own individual words. Our goal at MassMutual and Haven Life is to get as many people as possible use of affordable insurance coverage.”

A life insurance company will assume that the prescription history you provide within the application process is accurate, and use the information from medical databases as an additional source of verification, or to help complete gaps within the applicant's memory – not as something for enjoying “gotcha.” At Haven Life, once a credit card applicatoin is submitted, this review process is done in real-time using innovative underwriting algorithms. When the machine requires a human's review to verify information, a human underwriter will step in and ask some follow-up questions.

“Third-party prescription history is principally used to support what the customer has provided us,” Ballesteros says. “The underwriting models we use have a big-picture, holistic look at customers. Our No. 1 goal is to buy the best, most accurate rate to each customer.”

Myth #4: Your prescription history is written in stone

Mistakes happen – and not always on the applicant's side. If there's a component inside your prescription history that's inaccurate or missing some vital context, you don't have to just accept it. Once you understand that an underwriter is on a single side as you are, it's simpler to remember that you are liberated to explain mistakes – or just ask questions.

“We have a very friendly customer success team fielding telephone calls every single day, and when anyone has any queries about how their prescription history impacted their underwriting, the team is satisfied to walk them through it,” Ballesteros says. “And if they believe that something might not be accurate, we are able to connect all of them with someone who can help them address their records.”

The main point here: A precise prescription history helps you

In the end, your prescription history – conveyed with as much accuracy and detail as you possibly can – is an asset, no enemy, in securing your very best life insurance coverage rate. Sure, that history might be so long as your arm. However in the Twenty-first century, whose isn't?