Your Life Insurance Medical Exam or Paramedical
What is it for and what to expect
Congratulations. You have taken the first step in applying for insurance coverage for yourself and your family. An insurance policy protects your family and lets you leave them a non-taxable amount at the time of death. It is also used to cover your mortgage and your personal loans, such as your car loan. Your individual life insurance follows you when you retire and are no longer insured by your employer.
In addition to being asked questions regarding your lifestyle and health history, an insurance company may require that you complete a life insurance medical exam also known as a Paramedical as part of the life insurance application process. If this is the case, don’t feel as though you’re being singled out. The fact is, insurance companies routinely conduct life insurance medical exams on prospective policyholders in order to determine insurability and to establish premium rates.
What are they testing for?
Life insurance companies routinely screen for a variety of different health alerts such as elevated blood sugar levels, abnormal liver and kidney functions, HIV, cocaine, and nicotine use, and can point toward heart disease, diabetes, and even certain types of cancers.
What is a paramedical exam?
A paramedical examination is similar to the annual physical checkup you get from your family doctor, but on a much simpler scale. The paramedical usually includes the recording of height, weight, blood pressure and pulse. The exam may also include the collection of blood, urine, oral fluid, and an EKG and/or X-ray, depending on the insurer’s underwriting guidelines for your age and insurance amount. The exam may also include a personal interview to collect information about your medical history. All of this information allows the insurance company to perform a comprehensive evaluation of your current health.
Where is the exam performed?
Paramedicals may be performed at your home or workplace. You choose the time and place most convenient for you.
How long will the examination last?
The examination time can last from 15 to 45 minutes depending on the number of necessary services.
What if blood has to be drawn?
If a blood sample is required by the insurance company, a medically-trained professional will perform the collection using the same equipment that is used in standard medical laboratories. Only single-use, sterile, disposable needles are used to collect the specimen and vinyl gloves are always worn. (NOTE – fasting may be required)
What is an EKG?
An EKG records electric impulses of the heart. If an electrocardiogram (EKG) is required by the insurance company, it will be performed at the time of the examination. An EKG recording is usually complete in less than 10 minutes.
What happens when the exam is complete?
Any specimens obtained during the examination are sent to a designated laboratory and the results are forwarded to the insurance company for assessment. The paramedical examination and any additional requirements are also forwarded to the insurance company. If you have any questions regarding your application or your test results, please contact your insurance agent who will also contact you if additional information is required.
You will be asked to sign an authorization slip before providing your urine, blood and saliva samples. The cost of the exam will be covered by the insurance company.
How should I prepare for my exam?
You should have the following information available:
- Names and dosages of current medications
- Names, addresses and phone numbers of any doctors or clinics visited in the last five years
- List of medical conditions or diagnoses including the date diagnosed, treatment, result of treatment, and treating physician information
- Health insurance member identification numbers for any current health insurance policies (for health insurance applications only)
Next, in order to achieve optimal results make sure you do the following prior to your exam appointment:
- Consider a morning appointment before the stresses of the day
- Limit salt and high-cholesterol foods 24 hours prior to the examination
- Avoid strenuous exercise 12 hours prior to the examination
- Refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages for at least 12 hours prior to your appointment
- Limit caffeine and nicotine one hour prior to your appointment
- Provide any history of problems associated with providing a blood sample
- Drink a glass of water one hour prior to the appointment
- Get a good night of sleep prior to the examination
- Be prepared with a picture ID at the time of the examination
- Have any application paperwork that was sent to you available and ready for the examiner unless otherwise instructed by your agent