I am often asked how long it takes to get an application for health insurance approved. The answer is always the same, “it depends on how long the insurance company takes to review or “underwrite” the information you submit. Underwriting is a term insurance companies use that basically means “background check.” Individual health insurance companies have the ability to pick and choose to whom they will offer coverage. So, they require that you fill out an application form, answering a comprehensive list of personal medical and life style questions.
Once they receive this information from you, the underwriting begins. In addition to reviewing the information you have provided, they may plug your Social Security number into something called the Medical Information Bureau (MIB). The MIB is a sort of clearing house that collects patient information from doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and other insurance companies.
The underwriters may also call the applicant for clarification of details and, if need be, request records from your doctor before they are ready to make a decision on the application. The more information they need, the longer it takes for them to make an offer.
So, the answer to the question of how long it will take to get your application approved is, “usually a week to 10 days if doctors’ records are not required. If doctors’ records are required, it will take as long as it takes for the doctors’ office to respond to this request.”
That is why it is important to work with a knowledgeable insurance broker to fill out an application properly to avoid misunderstandings and delays from the onset.
If you’d like to find out what a professional individual health insurance broker can do for you, please give me a call at 303-541-9533.