Basic Med for older pilots not good!

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Basic Med for older pilots not good!

Posted by Frank Hollis on Feb 7, 2018 4:27 pm

Basic Med really doesn't work for older pilots 75 and over.  I have owned a basic complex airplane for over 30 years with retractable gear and a constant speed prop.  My current insurance is in the $1200 to $1400 range for $500k liability and does require a yearly medical.  If I was to go with Basic Med with the same coverage it is well over $3000.  So much for Basic Med not increasing premiums. I have 2 quotes for Basic Med one of which is AOPA and they are both over $3000.  This is sure not what I expected when I started to investigate Basic Med.  VERY SAD SITUATION!
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Re: Basic Med for older pilots & insurance premium

Posted by Richard Russell on Mar 12, 2018 7:48 am

You might try Hardy Aviation insurance in Wichita - they helped a Friend when his premium went up - FYI: as Mr. Hardy has said, “insurance companies are th only ones that can discriminate because of age”!

Re: Basic Med for older pilots not good!

Posted by Mark Ebben on Mar 12, 2018 7:51 am

Robert Cook:
It is true the older we get for most of us things don't work quite as well. With out getting in to all the details keep in mind the purpose of an insurance company is to make money for the share holders not to protect you. That being said the side effect is that have to pay claims ( and they will fight to keep every penny they can.)
Also think about this, the people who run the Government are under no requirement for mental health exams even if they are 80 years old +-15 years. Shouldn't people who run for political office and make the laws we live by have to prove they are healthy physically and mentally, if you want to fly you do! How about the non- tested Supreme Court bench.How does none tested old age qualify you to be the supreme last word of America. Just a little food for thought. God Bless America and Pray for GA

Right on about that!  But let me add that even things happen to 1st class med pilots, you never know.  
http://wgntv.com/2017/03/30/american-airlines-pilot-dies-on-flight-moments-before-plane-lands-in-new-mexico/

Re: Basic Med for older pilots not good!

Posted by Herman Cox on Mar 19, 2018 9:59 am

Many who have had a long professional flying career adopted a ‘Two Doctor Policy’.  One doctor, the one that keeps you healthy, knows everything about you. That is very valuable information to diagnose and treat you. The second doctor, the one you see for your Class I, II, and III, knows how to deal with the FAA ,if he is a good AME.  You get to tell the AME about your health for example a pain can be indigestion or ulser. 
To get my airline job, I was sent to Cooper Clinic for evaluation of my heart. I liked their setup and decided I would use them for my FAA physicals. I told a chief pilot of my plan and he recommended I not do that. He said Cooper is a great place to go once you have lost your medical to get it back but if you want a long flying career, go somewhere else. 
Once you are on Medicare, your medical records are available to the the FAA. Your personal doctor knows this and when he signs your Basic Med, he can be in real trouble fudging your medical history. Basic Med is just not for older pilots. Airplanes are expensive and can do a lot of damage so, unless you are a financial turnip, you need insurance. Insurance companies like to limit claims so they are concerned about your health and the liability that comes from that. 
Some insurance companies won’t insure you in a complex airplane solo after age 70. The solution, get your wife a PPL so you are flying with two pilots. 
IMHO, Keep the Two Doctor Policy. When your AME wants a letter from your doctor, which your real doctor will not like to write and if he does write one, it will be weasel worded like ‘probably’ that the FAA won’t like. Gather all the information about your Special Issuance issues, then write a ‘suggested letter’ for him to sign referencing the attached documentation and take it to you AME. All should go smoothly. The next year, Previously reported, see attached follow up report. 

Re: Basic Med for older pilots not good!

Posted by Richard Murphy on Mar 19, 2018 11:16 am

I read the title that Basic Med is "not good for older pilots", with some surprise, as many older pilots I know seem to like it very much. By the way, I am an AME, so I've heard quite a few people talk about this. "Good" or "Bad" depends on the perspective you take. I know several older pilots who were frustrated by the process of obtaining a class III medical, and now cannot say enough good things about Basic Med. I have heard from some pilots, flying experimental aircraft, who are being asked to obtain Class III medicals to keep their insurance. I am not aware there is enough data about the risk of older pilots havig medical problems or resulting accidents while flying; if it exists, I have not been able to find it. [reply to this if you have the data :-) ]. Yes, there is some greater risk of medical issues cropping up at any time as we get older, but there are also mitigating factors like experience, and that older pilots are probably doing a different kind of flying on the whole. What do you think is more likley for an older pilot - taildraggers on a grass field on a sunny afternoon, or punching through IFR and busy airspace, across several states in a fast and complex airplane? I know which one I intend to do if I am lucky enough to stay in the game that long, but both Class III and Basic Med allow both types of flying. I will stay out of the debate about Class III vs Basic Med, and its ability to detect medical issues, the decision has been made, and Basic Med is here. Class III and Basic Med are both options for pilots - and in theory Basic Med is not a lower bar, if you can pass one, you should pass the other (yeah, I know).
It seems this is boiling down to perceptions of risk, particulalry the risk that is taken on by the insurance companies. Its up to the insurance companies to place their bets on what that risk is, and up to the marketplace to choose the best value for insurance. Unlike with driving, there is usually no requirement to carry liability insurance. The wide range of prices and requirements being set by different insurers suggests to me that we just really don't know enough yet. What we can do as pilots? Something we should all be very familiar with and good at - assess our own risk and mitigate modifiable risks as much as we reasonably can. Sometimes spending a few aviation monetary units is the price of admission, but by continuing to enourage the safety conscious culture that runs through the aviation community, we will have our best hope of preventing runaway insurance costs. Stay vocal - pilots, though we may have our biases, are extremely well suited to identifying what the real safety issues are. As an AME, I know doctors can assist with safety (again, I'm not debating ClasslII vs Basic Med on this point, Drs really do want to help!) but at the end of the day, responsibility rests with the pilot [61.53 (a)(1), 61.52(b)] - and financially with the insurance company if a policy is covering a loss.

Re: Basic Med for older pilots not good!

Posted by Richard Willerton on Mar 19, 2018 3:39 pm

It is a fact that it is not possible to predict strokes, heart attacks or any other cause of sudden death, but no bureacrat ever got into trouble for saying no.
I applied for an aviation medical on my 70th birthday, am now 72, and am still waiting.  While being jacked around by the FAA I have added a glider rating to my airplane certificate and have flown 200 hours in a motor glider, including a cross-country from Florida to Washington state.  Had the FAA issued a second class medical it would have expired 4 times over by now.  I haven't expired once!
We're not happy until you are not happy is an FAA motto richly deserved.

Re: Basic Med for older pilots not good!

Posted by Ronald Levy on Mar 20, 2018 5:21 pm

Richard Willerton:
I applied for an aviation medical on my 70th birthday, am now 72, and am still waiting.  While being jacked around by the FAA I have added a glider rating to my airplane certificate and have flown 200 hours in a motor glider, including a cross-country from Florida to Washington state.  Had the FAA issued a second class medical it would have expired 4 times over by now.  I haven't expired once!
We're not happy until you are not happy is an FAA motto richly deserved.

 

Since you have chosen not to share the FAA’s reason for deferring your medical certificate application, it impossible for those reading your post to decide whether the FAA’s action was justified or you are being treated unfairly.  And the FAA usually has sound aeromedical reasons for doing that.

Re: Basic Med for older pilots not good!

Posted by Philip Johnson on Mar 26, 2018 8:57 am

What is the medical problem?

Re: Basic Med for older pilots not good!

Posted by Ronald Levy on Mar 27, 2018 6:56 pm

Richard Willerton:
I applied for an aviation medical on my 70th birthday, am now 72, and am still waiting.

​One point I neglected earlier is that in many cases, delays in Special Issuances are due to a lack of familiarity with the SI process and the necessary documentation specific to the particular medical condition involved.  That's why a lot of folks with difficult certification issues go to SI specialists like Dr. Bruce Chien (see www.aeromedicaldoc.com for more on him) even if it means traveling halfway across the country to get to someone like him.  I'm not saying your AME doesn't know what he's doing, but sometimes special problems require a real specialist, and many (most?) AME's don't work a lot of unusual SI problems.  If you find you're getting ping-ponged between the FAA and your AME over additional testing or reports, it could be that you need an AME more experienced with the issue that's hanging you up.