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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

Content is the opinion of the author and does not represent the position of any other person or entity. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.

The author is paid for product endorsements and has an ownership or other financial interest in the businesses related to the topics covered.

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Interpreting medical history

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: Can you please tell me what the term "treated" for means on a application for enrollment? i.e. "have you been treated, diagnosed, received counseling or advice during the past 5 years for any of the following?" If I have an oncologist for a cancer related illness that was over five years ago, and receive x-rays from time to time, does that fall under the term or "treated"?

A: No one is allowed to interpret medical information on your behalf for the purpose of completing an insurance application. Insurance applications are specifically intended to solicit your best interpretation about your medical history and there is no penalty if you use your best judgment but arrive at an answer that is different than another person might have answered. In any event, you should know that: 1. Pre-existing medical conditions are not covered under this type of health insurance policy, regardless of the wording of the medical questions or how you answer the questions. 2. If you answer the medical questions "no" then the insurance is issued. 3. If you answer the medical questions "yes" then the insurance is not issued. 4. If an insurer can prove that you deliberately lied on an insurance application, then all of your money is returned and no insurance exists. This is a very rare event.


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