Bill Turley - Defense Base Act Attorney and Author of Win Your Defense Base Act Case
Do Your Research
Before I get into the details of the "client portal" and how it is actually one of the worst things that will happen to your DBA case, I want to emphasize how important it is to prepare for your case. You have to do everything in your power to understand the DBA law system and what strategies the DBA insurance companies are going to use against you, your lawyer and your claim. Be ready for anything and everything.
That is why I strongly suggest you order a FREE copy of my book, Win Your Defense Base Act Case: The Ultimate Straight Talk Roadmap To The Medical Treatment and Money You and Your Family Deserve.
This book will go over everything you will need and want to know to win your DBA case and take down the DBA insurance companies. Trust me. My only goal here is to make sure honest hard working folks like you, do not get ripped off by these companies.
The "Client Portal"
One of the latest tricks that insurance carriers are attempting is implementing the “client portal”. The Client Portal is a login service where you sign in to get information about your claim, check on payments, communicate with the carrier, and find a doctor or pharmacy.
Multiple insurance carriers are developing or have already implemented such portals: AIG Client Portal, ACE Client Portal, Zurich Client Portal, Broadspire, Client Portal, and Gallagher Bassett Client Portal to name a few.
While some aspects of these portals may at first blush appear fairly harmless, you want to make sure what you are getting into before you sign up for it. Especially if you are unrepresented, these portals could be extremely harmful to your case.
Direct Insurance-Controlled Communications
Why is this portal dangerous? Well for one, the portal can allow for private, insurance controlled communications. For example, at the login page for AIG, there’s a warning that states: “This tool is intended for use only by injured workers who have claims on file with AIG. Use by other persons or organizations is strictly prohibited.” This could mean that your attorney would not have access to it. If you have an attorney, the insurance carrier MUST communicate to you through your attorney, not directly to you. This portal seems like a convenient way for them to get around this legal requirement.
Further, as a portal provided through the insurance carrier’s servers, they would have full access and control. Say you get a message from your adjuster that says something like “if this Defense Medical Examination (DME) doctor says you can’t go back to work, we’ll restart your benefits”. You go to the doctor and get a pretty scathing report but he ends up saying “Patient cannot necessarily go back to work at this time” but the adjuster refuses to follow through with her promise. You go to portal inbox to get proof of the agreement you made before just to find that it’s been deleted from your account. Now, you’ve gone through a Carrier’s choice DME appointment which likely has hurt your case, and are still cut off from your benefits with no proof that the adjuster promised you anything.
At least if this was sent to your personal email address, you’d have that agreement. Trust me. This has happened to one of my clients before. Luckily, my client had access to the message and we were able to use it to apply pressure to the adjuster to restart my client’s benefits.
Provider and Pharmacy Searches
But the MOST dangerous aspect of the portal is the “provider search” platforms that will “help you choose your treating doctor”. These searches will likely guide you to doctors that are vetted by the insurance carrier.
Know this: At the start of your claim, you can choose your treating doctor. Once you choose one, that’s pretty much it with very few exceptions. You can’t just say you don’t like the doctor later on and choose another at will. You get ONE choice. Make sure it’s the right one.
If you choose a doctor that is more in line with the insurance carrier, you could be looking at early releases before you are healed up, or doctors that are less inclined to fight for treatments that you need but the insurance company doesn’t want to pay for. This is the last thing you want to do. I cannot tell you how many calls we get where our clients were prematurely release from care. As a result, their benefits cut, they are still in pain, can’t go back to work, and are just SOL.
Your doctor, along with your lawyer, will be the most important allies you have in your DBA claim. You want to make sure you choose one that will fight for you.
Defending Against The Insurance Company Tricks
Now I’m not saying that signing up for these portals will kill your case. There are some aspects that could be helpful for you – direct deposit, tracking payments, updating contact information. What I’m saying is that you need to know what could potentially be used to hurt you before you sign up for it. Remember, convenience comes with a price. Make sure you know what that price is before you have to pay it!
Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation.