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The paramed exam (life insurance medical exam) will make or break your life insurance underwriting outcome.
Here’s how to make it a positive experience.
Paramed Exam Overview
Paramed exams include a personal medical history interview and a brief life insurance medical exam.
In addition, your height, weight, blood pressure, and pulse will be checked.
Blood and urine samples may be required.
A resting EKG is necessary for some cases.
The exam is the same whether you buy term life insurance or universal life.
You’ll also sign the authorization forms that allow the insurance companies to search prescription databases and the Medical Information Bureau.
How to Pass Your Paramed Exam
- Ask your agent for the paramed exam requirements. Exam requirements vary based on the amount of life insurance applied for and your age.
- Know Your Dates – Make sure you have the dates of any surgeries, treatments, and tests.
- Have your physician contact information available – Examiners will ask you for the names & contact information of any physicians you have.
- Have a list of your medications and dosages – Make sure you have the names and dosages for all medicines you take.
- If you are sick, reschedule for a later date – Lab results and blood pressure may be elevated, and you will miss out on the best rate classes.
- Watch what you eat – Limit salty, fatty, and sugary foods for a few days before the exam. You don’t want to negatively affect your cholesterol levels.
- Fast for 6-8 hours before your exam – Fasting provides the best results, but do not fast if your medical condition requires that you do not.
- Don’t drink alcohol before your paramed exam – Don’t drink for at least 48 hours before the exam.
- Don’t use tobacco products before your exam – If you smoke or use tobacco products, stop using them for a few hours before your exam, as they tend to elevate your blood pressure.
- Answer the examiner’s questions – Make sure you understand the question before answering. You don’t have to guess, and you shouldn’t reply with more than what they are asking you for.
- Limit exercise activity on exam day – Working out will temporarily raise your blood pressure and has also been known to cause elevated liver test results. Skip your routine on the day of the exam.
- Schedule morning appointments when possible – Make sure you schedule a morning exam as your blood pressure is typically lower, and it will be easier on you since you are fasting.
Special Underwriting Notes:
Special note for cigar smoking and chewing tobacco programs.
If your quote requires a negative urine sample, stop long enough beforehand to ensure the negative test.
Here’s ExamOne’s consumer guide to help you prepare.
If you need a quick overview of the entire application process, our Life Insurance 101 guide is helpful.
Suppose you are converting a life insurance policy.
In that case, you can disregard this entire article because conversions don’t require medical exams unless you add a life insurance rider for long-term care benefits or increasing death benefits.
For business cases such as SBA loans or key person coverage, we can schedule all the exams simultaneously or on different days to fit your schedule.
If you’re getting life insurance to satisfy a divorce decree, you may consider a no medical exam life insurance policy instead.
The most common questions we receive from clients include:
Coronavirus Paramed Exam Update – ExamOne is still completing exams subject to the following:
- In the last 14 days, have you exhibited signs of fever or respiratory distress or had close contact with someone who has?
- In the last 14 days, have you traveled to China, South Korea, Iran, Hong Kong, or Italy or had close contact with an individual who has?
If you answer “yes” to either question, ExamOne will postpone scheduling your exam for a minimum of 14 days.
Paramed Exam Questions
Have you been diagnosed with or treated for:
- High blood pressure?
- High cholesterol?
- Heart Conditions? (chest pain, murmur, heart attack, EKG)
- Cancer? (Breast cancer, melanoma, prostate cancer)
- GI Problems – Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Hepatitis?
- Endocrine Disorders – Diabetes, Thyroid Conditions
- Respiratory Problems – asthma, emphysema, sleep apnea
- Mental or Nervous Disorder? (anxiety, depression, OCD, bipolar, suicide ideation/attempts)
- Brain Disorders? (Seizures, epilepsy, TIA, MS, strokes)
- Have you ever been diagnosed with AIDs?
- Any disorders of the blood or immune system? (anemia, leukemia, lymphoma, HIV, etc.)
- Do you drink alcohol?
- If yes, how often do you drink?
- Have you ever used illegal drugs? Marijuana is no big deal with the right companies.
- If yes, what did you use, and when?
- Drug addiction and/or alcohol abuse?
- Any other health history not mentioned?
- Do you smoke or use other types of tobacco?
- What types, how often, and if you quit, when did you quit?
- They’ll also ask about your family history of medical problems with parents and siblings.
Let the examiner know about all physicians you’ve used if medical records are needed.
When possible, we use Human API to speed up the medical records process.
With the increase in accelerated underwriting and instant life insurance approvals, insurers rely heavily on their life insurance statistics and data to determine if you even need a paramedical exam.
Life Insurance Lab Tests
The life insurance paramedical will require blood and urine samples.
What do they test with your blood sample?
- Serum HIV – tests for the presence of HIV
- Hepatitis C Antibody – Detects prior infection.
- Glucose – Used to help diagnose and evaluate diabetes.
- HbA1c – Evaluates glucose levels for the prior 2-3 months.
- BUN – Used to evaluate and diagnose kidney disease.
- Creatinine – Used to assess kidney function.
- Estimated GFR – Measures the functions of the kidneys.
- Alkaline Phosphatase – Checks for bone or liver disorders.
- AST – Tests for liver, heart, or muscle disorders.
- ALT – Test for liver disease.
- GGT – Alcohol use, certain medications, and liver disease.
- Blood Alcohol – Tests for ethanol in your blood.
- Total Protein – Screens for kidney and liver disease.
- Albumin – Tests for advanced liver disease.
- Globulin – May indicate infections, immune disorders, etc.
- Cholesterol – Measures the amount in your bloodstream.
- HDL Cholesterol – The “good” cholesterol.
- LDL – The “bad” cholesterol that clogs arteries.
- Cholesterol/HDL Ratio – Measures total cholesterol to HDL.
- LDL/HDL Ratio – Used to calculate heart disease risk.
- Triglycerides – This may indicate heart disease and alcohol use.
- PSA – Used to evaluate prostate cancer risk.
The above are the most common tests performed.
Reflexive testing is more specific due to an elevation of one of the above lab tests.
Life insurers will soon have another tool at their disposal.
ExamOne recently released their new LabPiQture product.
This allows life insurers to access all Quest Diagnostic lab test results in your medical files.
Older Age Underwriting Tests
More companies are implementing senior life insurance underwriting requirements.
Examples of tests include:
Chair Stand Test – You may be asked to sit in a chair and stand up without using your arms.
This test may be repeated a few times throughout the exam.
Clock Drawing Test – You’ll be asked to draw a clock with the numbers 1-12 on the clock.
You may then be asked to draw the hands of the clock at a specific time.
Gait Test – Assess the insured’s ability to walk normally across a room and back.
Word Recall Test – The examiner will tell you five words they want you to remember.
During the exam, they will ask you to recall those words.
Each company has different criteria.
You may be asked to complete some of the above with one company but not another.
If your spouse is applying for life insurance, make sure they are paying attention while you complete your tests, as they will need to complete the same tests.
We’ll let you know if your paramed exam may involve one of these tests.
Paramed exams are not as bad as some agents make them.
In many cases, the life insurance medical exam takes 25-45 minutes to complete.
We’ll schedule your paramed exam with you.
We use ExamOne whenever possible as it’s part of Quest Diagnostics.
They offer convenient locations and have been the most consistent paramedic exam company.
We’ll prep you ahead of time to ensure you know what to expect. We work for you, not the life insurance company.
Our goal is to help you find your best term life insurance rate based on your medical history.
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