Could being a woman lead to a disability claim denial?

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2023 | ERISA Disability Benefits

There’s no question about it: Biases exist in health care, just like they do everywhere else. Unfortunately, biases in health care are often slanted along gender lines – and women patients are frequently the victims of medical “gaslighting.”

What is medical gaslighting? It’s basically what patients experience when they tell their doctors that they’re having unusual and distressing symptoms and they’re told that they’re either just experiencing something very ordinary or they’re treated as if they’re exaggerating.

Medical gaslighting can lead to misdiagnosis and conflicts in medical records

Medical gaslighting is the sort of situation that can cause a female patient to end up bouncing from specialist to specialist, desperately seeking answers to why she’s so fatigued, unable to think clearly and suffering all kinds of fleeting physical problems – only to have an autoimmune disorder initially misdiagnosed as anxiety.

Research has consistently shown that women’s health concerns are – consciously or subconsciously – more likely to be dismissed than the health concerns of men. For example, men with knee pain are 22 times more likely to be referred for knee replacements than their female counterparts. And, it’s long been known that emergency rooms are far more likely to miss the signs of a heart attack in a woman than in a man.

Being a well-respected professional in your field is no shield against this kind of medical gaslighting, either. Even women physicians report that their own medical concerns are dismissed as nothing more than job-related stress.

How can this affect your claim for short-term or long-term disability benefits? The longer it takes to get a diagnosis, the longer it can take to get the benefits you need. In addition, disability insurance carriers are always looking for ways to minimize their losses, so they may latch onto discrepancies in your medical records caused by a misdiagnosis to delay or deny your claim.

Fighting for your short-term or long-term disability benefits isn’t always an easy process, but you don’t have to do it alone. Learning more about the process can help you take a strategic approach for the future.