It came to my attention today that Prudential is pre-scheduling IMEs for future dates as if the company has a crystal ball and can predict an end to COVID-19 and a return to normal living.
The claims handler I spoke to regurgitated the company’s line when she said, “We need to make sure the claim is moving forward. If there is a conflict we’re willing to reschedule and change dates.” What was really astonishing was that she was referring to a claimant in New York….New York.
I want to impress upon insureds that the primary consideration is your health and well-being. All disabled persons are in a high risk category for COVID-19. Some states are in the process of re-opening, others are not. Even so, if due to a particular impairment, physicans feel their patients are not to be compromised by coming out of isolation, then insureds should not attend IMEs until it is safe to do so.
The proper procedure for this is to have your physician sign a statement that it is NOT his/her recommendation that you risk infection by ending lock-down to attend an IME. If Prudential does what it says it will do, then a continued process of re-scheduling should take place.
Prudential’s management should be aware that it is creating an administrative nightmare within the claims process to schedule IMEs ahead during a national pandemic, not to mention that perhaps those who are impaired should not be “outside” in situations where riots and public demonstrations are taking place. We do not in fact know what the situation will be 45 days from now, or even 90 days.
In my opinion, to start scheduling IMEs, “to keep the process going” will create more chaos and time consuming administrative procedures. Maybe that’s the point – to keep claims handlers busy.
It also occurs to me that the reputable IME physicians may remain locked down while the industry hacks are staying open to profit from the insurance industry. IMEs may not be as fair and objective to the insured than they normally would be if everything was “backk to normal.”
Prudential has always been what I call a “bottom feeder” organization second only to Unum Group. This is not surprising since many of Prudential’s executive management have traditionally been terminated Unum employees. After experiencing Prudential’s arrogance for a period of time, many executives transition to Sun Life. Therefore, we have a triangle of terrible management – Unum Group to Prudential to Sun Life.
In any event, if you are asked to do an IME during the pandemic and need advice please feel free to give me a call. Having a disability claim should not be a life threatening event.