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What to Expect From a Life Insurance Medical Exam

After a person submits an application to an insurance provider for life insurance, there are often multiple steps that are taken in order to determine whether a person is insurable to the standards of the provider. One of the steps is often a life insurance medical exam. This is used to determine if you have any diseases, or if you are at risk for any diseases. It can also be used to determine a person’s drug use.

There are multiple parts involved with these types of medical exams, and for most term life insurance policies and permanent life insurance policies, getting a medical exam is standard. The exam is provided by the insurer, free of charge, and gives them an opportunity to confirm an applicant’s health status.


What’s Involved In A Life Insurance Medical Exam


In most cases, life insurance medical examinations are done by third-party businesses. The insurance providers hire these third-party companies to take care of the testing process, and base their decisions about your insurance plan on the results. After the testing company or testing agent reaches out to you, the exam will be scheduled. The process is simple and straightforward and is often done at a convenient place for the applicant. In some cases, the test is done at their home, and in other cases, the test is done at their place of work or a local examination center.


Standard life insurance physicals and medical examinations consist of a confirmation of the applicants identity. This can be done with the driver’s license, passport, or other forms of state ID. If you do not have any of these items, contact the life insurance provider to ask about options.


There are multiple tests and other things that must be done as part of a life insurance med exam. This generally includes a blood sample, urine sample, and taking general medical measurements. These measurements can include a person’s weight, height, blood pressure, and more.


In addition, a series of health questions will be asked. These questions will not only pertain to your lifestyle and general health but will also include questions about doctors and medical specialists you have seen recently. The information provided about these specialists and doctors will be used to confirm the information provided in your application.


For older adults who want a significant death benefit, an EKG may be required.


Keep in mind that people who are taking these exams are generally asked to fast for the 8 to 12 hours before the examination. Due to this, it is recommended to schedule your appointment in the morning if possible.


The entirety of the medical exam process usually takes less than 30 minutes. If, however, you are asked for an EKG, the examination can take an additional 20 minutes to a half-hour. For some insurance providers, a saliva sample or x-rays will also be done, but this is much less common overall.


If you want the results of the examination, you may need to request that from the insurance provider. Some companies do, however, send the results automatically after they have done their analysis. If the results of the exam are on par with what you expect, the results are not generally needed. On the other hand, if the insurance provider comes back with a much higher quote than you were planning, or if you were denied coverage, you will likely want to know why.


What Is Tested For In A Life Insurance Medical Exam?


Designed to be an assessment of health, the things that companies test for in a life insurance medical exam are used to obtain information. Some of the tests that are administered are to determine specific health factors. By taking a person’s weight and height, the company can get an idea of whether you are overweight. The standards for being overweight are set by the individual insurance provider. In addition, the blood pressure that is taken can indicate whether you are a higher risk for heart attack or other health issues the insurance provider may want to avoid.


Blood and urine tests are often also required. This allows the company to screen for numerous indicators of health and try and seek out multiple risky conditions. These conditions will affect insurance premiums for life insurance you pay. Conditions that are tested for can include but are not limited to, HIV and AIDS, other STDs, cholesterol, hemoglobin A1C, creatine, and urine acidity. Cholesterol is associated with heart disease risk, hemoglobin is related to a person’s likelihood for having diabetes, creatine is used to help identify kidney disease, and urine acidity can also indicate kidney issues or diabetes.


Also, keep in mind that if your blood or urine test indicates that you are using illegal drugs, you will be denied for a life insurance policy. The exception to this rule is marijuana, which each insurance company evaluates differently. Nicotine and cotinine are also tested to indicate whether you have recently quit smoking, are a regular smoker, and what your status is. Keep in mind, if you are using a patch, the nicotine from the patch will still show up in the test. By indicating on your initial application if you are using the patch or are an occasional smoker who just smokes to celebrate, and very rarely, you can smooth this part of the process out.


The life insurance company utilizes statistics to determine a person’s risk level when they insure a person. All of the information they receive helps to make an accurate determination and set prices. It is important to be honest with the medical examiner for life insurance, as between all of the tests and questions, in addition to following up on medical records, the insurance provider will likely find all of the information they need anyway. If you are caught lying on your application, it can be a reason to deny your coverage.


What Should You Do To Prepare?


To prepare for your life insurance medical examination, you should be prepared to answer numerous questions about your lifestyle and medical history. Questions about your health will also be asked, and these questions usually pertain to the last five years of your life. Not only will this help make the initial quote you receive more accurate, but it will also help allow you to determine if an insurance provider has premiums that are too high for you. Each insurance provider will want you to take a medical examination, so getting this information can help you not have to prepare as many times. The underwriting process can take multiple weeks.


Insurance companies will try to confirm all of the answers an applicant provides, and inconsistencies can lead to people being denied coverage. Before the examination occurs, at least a few days, you will want to eat healthy foods and drink an adequate amount of water. It is also recommended to eat more foods that raise good cholesterol, such as avocados, salmon, and nuts, while also reducing the amount of sugary foods and fried foods that you eat. Drinking an adequate amount of water helps to clear chemicals out of your system, as well as having positive benefits for your veins. It can also help improve the results of a urine sample.


Most importantly, be prepared to answer all questions honestly and remain calm. A low resting heart rate is helpful for your blood pressure test, and by standing upright, you can get the best result for your height to weight ratio.


There are some things that you should not do as well, including eating specific types of food. These foods include poppy seeds, which can cause false-positive results for opiate style drugs. Also, avoid eating vitamin B12, high protein snack bars, riboflavin supplements, and avoid drinking tonic water. Also, some medications, like ibuprofen, sleeping pills, cold remedies, and decongestants, should be avoided.


What To Do If You’re Denied Coverage


The first thing you will want to do if you are denied life insurance coverage is to inquire about why. Request a copy of your test results from the company that performed your medical examination, and determine if something in the test is inaccurate. If it is, a second examination from the insurer can be requested. Some people, as an example, have higher blood pressure when they are nervous. If your usual results for blood pressure are a lot lower than the results during the test, a second exam should show this and be the difference between being accepted and denied.

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