Tips To Prepare For The Life Insurance Medical Exam

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The idea of setting up an appointment for a medical exam for the sake of applying for a life insurance policy probably doesn’t sound like a great time. But don’t let the process deter you. A life insurance medical exam is relatively quick (usually 15 to 45 minutes) and you can choose a convenient location.

Most importantly, the life insurance medical exam can help you lock in the lowest life insurance rates.

That’s because life insurance companies largely base rates on your life expectancy. Generally, the younger and healthier you are, the less you’ll pay in life insurance premiums. But even if you’re confident in your health, you should still prepare for your medical exam.

Seemingly harmless actions could affect your laboratory tests. For example, too much red meat, not enough sleep and a vigorous morning at the gym could create less-than-ideal results that might not reflect your true health.

But you won’t have to overhaul your entire lifestyle to “pass” the exam and get the best life insurance quote possible. A few minor tweaks in the weeks and days leading up to your exam can really pay off in the long run. Here’s how you can prepare for a life insurance medical exam.

Where Can I Get a Life Insurance Medical Exam?

Once you’ve submitted an application for life insurance to a company, a representative from a medical testing service such as APPS or ExamOne will contact you to schedule an appointment. You can typically have it done at one of three places:

  • Your home
  • Your workplace
  • At a paramedical service’s exam center

Tip: Your workplace might not offer the privacy you’ll want. While you don’t undress for the exam, you’ll likely want privacy to provide blood and urine samples.

What to Expect During a Life Insurance Medical Exam

Expect a life insurance medical exam to consist of the following:

An interview

  • Your examiner will likely go over the questions you already answered on the application, such as questions about health conditions and medications.
  • Be prepared to provide the contact information for your physician(s).
  • Keep in mind that insurers have many ways of verifying the information you give them. Here’s how life insurers gather intel on you.

A physical exam

  • You can expect your height, weight, pulse and blood pressure to be recorded.
  • You likely have to provide a urine sample and have blood drawn.
  • If you’re over 50 and applying for a high amount of life insurance ($1 million and up), you may have to take an electrocardiogram (EKG).

What does the life insurance physical exam include?

The insurance company will likely have your examiner collect the following during your life insurance exam:

Height and weight measurements

These measurements are used to determine your body mass index (BMI), which is a measure of body fat.

Blood pressure check

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to health problems, such as heart attack, stroke or weakened and narrowed blood vessels in your kidneys, which can lead to kidney disease.

Blood and urine samples

These samples can detect high blood pressure, high cholesterol or glucose levels, liver or kidney disorders, diabetes, immune disorders, HIV antibodies, and indicators of nicotine, tobacco or drug use.

Possibly an electrocardiogram

Also called an ECG or EKG, this test detects abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia), coronary artery disease, previous heart attacks and the efficacy of heart disease treatments (such as a pacemaker).

An electrocardiogram may be required for applicants at older ages and/or for high life insurance coverage amounts.

How Should I Prepare For a Life Insurance Medical Exam?

In the Weeks Leading Up to the Exam

A few healthy tweaks to your diet can help lower your LDL levels and raise your HDL levels.

  • Drink plenty of water. Drinking water can help dilute concentrations of sugar and protein, and clear toxins from your system.
  • Limit your salt intake. Too much salt can make your urine too concentrated and lead to dehydration.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Food that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products can help lower your blood pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s a good idea to avoid processed food that has added sodium.
  • Limit alcohol. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. That’s one drink per day for women and two per day for men, according to the Mayo Clinic. Drinking more than a moderate amount can raise your blood pressure and reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.

The Day Before the Exam

You’ll want to take a few extra precautions the day before the exam, such as:

  • Avoid alcohol and nicotine. Both can increase your blood pressure. But remember, the blood or urine test will reveal recent nicotine use.
  • Avoid red meat. Red meat is a high-cholesterol food.
  • Avoid over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines and nasal decongestants. These types of medications can increase blood pressure.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. People who sleep less than six hours a night could have increased blood pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The Day of the Exam

Here are steps you can take on the day of the exam to help ensure the best possible results:

  • Avoid caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, soda and tea.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise, which can raise your blood pressure.
  • Drink plenty of water. Being well hydrated also makes it easier to provide urine and blood samples.
  • Have a photo ID ready. You’ll most likely need a government-issued ID, like your driver’s license, state-issued photo ID or passport.
  • Have your medical information ready, including a list of medical conditions, treatments, prescription medications and contact information for your physician(s).
  • Wear short sleeves or sleeves that can be rolled up so the examiner can get your blood sample.

When you get the blood pressure reading, a few simple steps like not having a full bladder and keeping your feet flat on the floor during the reading can get you the best results. A full bladder can raise your blood pressure reading by 10 to 15 points and crossing your legs can add 2 to 8 points, according to WebMD. Dangling your legs can increase the blood pressure reading by 6 to 10 points.

Will I Get the Results of My Life Insurance Exam?

After your exam, the life insurance company will review the results and may contact you with the results. You may be able to get the results directly from the company hired to do the exam. For example, if ExamOne performed the test, you can typically access the results online within seven to 14 days after the exam.

You can also contact the paramedical company’s customer service and ask how to get the results of your exam.

What If My Life Insurance Is Denied Because of the Medical Exam?

If the life insurance company denies your application, request the reason in writing. Ask for specifics and double-check the results. Keep an eye out for:

  • Data entry errors. It’s possible there may be a human error, such as inaccurate or incomplete information.
  • False positive results. A false positive means your test shows you have a disease or condition when you don’t actually have it. This can happen if the test was not done right or other factors that could affect the accuracy of results, like food and drinks, medicines, stress, vigorous exercise, illness or variations in lab procedures.

If you discover an error, discuss it with your life insurance agent and ask how to proceed with a correction.

If the problem was an unexpected positive result, check with your doctor to rule it out. For example, if blood or protein is found in a urine sample, this could be an indicator of kidney disease or the result of vigorous physical activity.

If you are denied because of your health, and your doctor confirms the test results, you can take steps to improve your health. It’s not a good idea to retake the life insurance medical exam right away since it’s likely you’ll be denied again.

A company called MIB Group keeps records of life insurance application answers and denials. Denials often affect your ability to buy life insurance in the future, so you don’t want to run the risk of too many failed medical exams.

Life Insurance Medical Exam FAQ

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