On Friday, I took my husband Dan, four pages of notes, and a copy of Lincoln Financial Group’s policy cancellation letter to my primary doctor. I highlighted the most absurd parts, and when Dr. S. got to them, she laughed.
“Do they know about your SSDI determination?”
“Yes,” I said.
In fact, Lincoln Financial Group forced me to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) when I first submitted the claim. Then, when SSDI was awarded to me, they reduced their benefit from about 60% of my prior income to about 30%.
That’s probably standard procedure for any long-term disability policy–reducing benefits if SSDI is awarded–but it highlights a significant point: Lincoln Financial Group acknowledged Social Security’s determination in order to reduce my benefit and save money while I underwent treatment. But now they’re ignoring it and paying Dr. Brian Samuels to say I should no longer receive any benefit at all.
And I’m like, look, asholes, either my SSDI is relevant, or it isn’t. That they can discard this kind of information when it helps their bottom line is fucking disgusting.
Speaking of bottom lines. According to Forbes, Lincoln Financial Group’s CEO, Dennis R. Glass, has made an estimated $28 million in the last four years and Google search estimates his net worth at between $88.4 million and $90.4 million, depending on the source. In a February press release, Lincoln Financial Group (NYSE: LNC) reported net earnings of $399 million for the fourth quarter of 2018. QUARTER. They made $399 million dollars in just three months. For all of 2018? $1.6 billion.
Partly by paying doctors to say in writing that brain cancer patients like me are able to work. Yes, we all know it’s cheaper to pay an old, tired doctor to lie than it is to pay out the benefit they promised a couple dozen long-term disability claimants.
I wonder, do lowly LFG employees like the ones I always interact with buy these policies for themselves? Do they think they’ll be covered if the worst happens? Or are they all job hunting on the company dime when business is slow? Biding their time until they can finally stop helping a billion-dollar industry take advantage of the sick and disabled?
But back to my appointment on Friday. “This says you can occasionally squat and climb but never bend over? You can work 40 hours a week? You can stand and walk for up to 30 minutes?” My doctor read more from the policy cancellation letter. Even a toddler would question their logic. It was devastating to read it the first time. And outright insulting to hear it read aloud by my doctor.
“I know! It’s ridiculous!” I forced a laugh, because I knew if I started crying I wouldn’t be able to talk.
She asked if she was remembering correctly that the brain tumor was stable but still in there and that it was inoperable. I confirmed for her that yes, the doctors at Wash U had stopped or slowed the tumor’s growth for the time being and that I was not currently undergoing treatment. Then she assured me that she would contact my oncologist and do some investigating. She did not agree with Lincoln Financial’s determination, and she was going to support my appeal.
I admit, I was really nervous going into that appointment Friday. Although Dr S has never done me wrong, many other doctors and medical personnel have, and I’m always wondering when the next one is going to call me a liar or choose their personal bias over my lived reality.
I say this a lot, but my anxiety in medical situations is a result of things that have actually happened to me, and not just wild imaginings concocted by an overactive imagination. I earned the right to doubt first and withhold trust for as long as I want to.
Anyway, Lincoln Financial group still hasn’t mailed me the forms they’re required to send. I emailed the claims examiner on 4/11/19 about it and got this response:
Your file copy was mailed to you on 4/4/19, with additional information mailed on 4/8/19. Your file copy includes a copy of your long-term disability policy. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
I requested the report I’m legally entitled to on April 1, 2019. LFG claims to have mailed a copy three days later. It’s been two weeks now, and my mailbox still sits empty. Meanwhile, Lincoln Financial Group continues to not pay me. And the 30-day deadline they’ve imposed on me to submit supporting documents continues to tick away, even though it’s still unclear what specific lies and misinformation I’m supposed to be appealing.
Don’t buy insurance policies from these people. They are shady AF.
If after today’s mail arrives I still haven’t received the promised documents, I’m going to email them again. Give me a fucking tracking number or some kind of receipt, because I don’t believe anyone who works for Lincoln Financial Group. No. One.