A Life insurance medical exam is a requirement by many insurance companies to qualify for a specific policy and to determine your rate classification (how much you will pay for premiums).
You’re probably tired of taking tests and being judged in your life. It starts with high school SAT exams to get into a good college, then your college graduation GPA to get a good job and begin a successful career. Professional certifications, licensing, the list goes on and on; we get tested a lot in order to achieve something.
Well, it’s no different to get a life insurance policy. Most insurance carriers you apply with require that you complete specific life insurance medical exams so that they can review your medical history and basic information to determine your rate classification (how much you will pay for premiums).
The health screening exam is usually performed by a qualified professional like a nurse, and in most cases, you don’t need to go to a hospital as it can also be performed at home. If you are thinking of a way to avoid all this hassle then yes, it is possible. You can avoid the life insurance medical exam by applying for non-medical, or simplified issue life insurance policies with some companies. There are many options out there, and you will be able to find quotes that fit your budget.
A typical life insurance medical exam includes the following:
The majority of life insurance companies require blood work at the time of your application to get a detailed, physiological health profile. It is technically called ‘Fully or medically underwritten life insurance.’
Here is what the insurance companies are looking for:
Marijuana use is now evaluated based on the legality of it in your state of residence, or other factors that are individually rated.
Insurance company underwriters also evaluate you based on your age, gender, your family history (for instance, whether your parent(s) died of cardiovascular disease), even your credit history and driving record, but ultimately on the evidence of your blood work results, which will reveal specific health conditions.
The insurance agent will order a life insurance medical exam with an independent paramedical exam company after you fill out your application. You determine when and where to take it at your convenience. It is free of charge to you; the insurance company pays for it. A nurse from the independent exam company will draw your blood, do an EKG (electrocardiogram), measure your blood pressure readings, weight and measure your height, and request a urine sample at the time of your test.
If you take medicines prescribed by your medical provider, disclose them on your application. The first reason is that you should be truthful; secondly, your blood work will reveal evidence of those medications.
Additionally, insurance companies can order your prescription records from databases such as the Medical Information Bureau (MIB) where that history is kept. Those records will show all medicines prescribed, even if you’re no longer taking them. So, be honest in answering the health questions on your application.
If you are medicated to control high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or anti-depressants, it is important to divulge them. These alone might not increase your policy rates, but it will make an underwriter look closer in scrutinizing your application.
Because smokers receive some of the highest life insurance rates, applicants often think that quitting prior to a life insurance medical exam is sufficient to qualify for a preferred rate. This could backfire. It could cost you more to be honest up front, but you can appeal to the insurer a year later to be re-classified and qualify for a cheaper non-smoker rate.
The human body is a complex machine made up of a long list of ingredients— mainly oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen (a lot of that in the form of water). Scientists estimate that the volume of blood is only about 7% of our body weight. Seems insignificant in the big picture but that liquid or nutrient of life is powerfully meaningful. This is probably more information than you will ever know about why your blood tells a colorful story and what some of the many items in a blood profile your doctor (and insurance underwriters) look for to evaluate your overall health.
HIV Antibody: These antibodies in the blood are disease-fighting proteins that the body produces in response to HIV infections. It can take months for a person’s body to produce enough antibodies to detect HIV infection.
There is no point in lying on an insurance application. The truth will be revealed after you take that blood test. The underwriter reviews your application on the assumption that you are truthful in your answers to questions about your health, prescription drug use, blood pressure readings, height & weight. This will determine whether they reward you with the best rate for your policy.
So reveal it all on that important application, don’t leave anything out, because the blood work does not lie. If during the application process an underwriter finds that you described yourself as the picture of health, and your blood analysis and blood pressure readings come back to reveal negative risk factors, your rate will go up. Fraud never pays off and will cost you in the end.
The life insurance approval process can take weeks to complete so the sooner you get started, the better.
You’re in the home stretch now but remember the life insurance application process can sometimes get a little tedious. Make yourself available to your agent in case the insurer has any questions or concerns that you need to clarify.
Being proactive is key. For instance, we often hear from underwriters how difficult it is to get in touch with physicians who are listed on insurance applications. If you can contact your primary care physician and let them know ahead of time that they will be contacted about your life insurance application, it could definitely expedite the process. This way they can be ready to respond to the insurance company’s request for what is called “Attending Physicians Statements (APS)”, which is your medical history with that doctor. This usually happens after the completion of your insurance medical exam. Now, sit back and try to relax. The ball is in the court of the carrier’s underwriter.
Your medical test results are kept highly confidential and protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 HIPAA laws For your protection you must request your test results directly from the exam company, who will send them to you by regular mail. The only other option is to access them via the insurance company’s web portal, but not all carriers offer this. The one person who cannot provide your results is your life insurance agent because they don’t have access to it, again because of privacy concerns.
By the way, your exam results do not expire for six months, so in a worst-case scenario that you are denied coverage by the first carrier with which you applied, you can use these results with the next company. You can also appeal the denial or contest the results of the exam or any of the medical information used to deny you coverage. It’s best to discuss this with your agent to guide you as to the best move.
In conclusion, if you don’t have an aversion to needles and don’t need a policy in a hurry, it may pay to apply for a fully underwritten policy that requires a life insurance medical exam. If you are in relatively good health, it will probably save you money. But if you need to push a rush on coverage—for a divorce settlement agreement, or a business loan— you might have to opt for non-medical life insurance policy options. Some have instant approval or simplified issue, but those policies will generally be more expensive than medically underwritten term life insurance.