Part of getting life insurance over 50 is having a medical exam with blood and urine tests. Why does the insurance company need these? An insurance blood test is extensive and can help the carrier see not only what health concerns you have now, but which ones you might develop in the future. Also, they test things that your doctor does not normally test.
Why Would You Want to Take A Medical Exam?
Life insurance without an exam
is definitely easier to do, but you will pay for the privilege. Fully underwritten life insurance is less expensive because the insurance carrier has more information about your health. If you don't mind having the exam, you will also have many more policies and carriers to choose from. We try to make it easy, the examiner will come to your home. By doing your test early in the morning after an eight hour (overnight) fast, you will get the best results.
Even when looking for over 50 life insurance to cover your final expenses, you have the choice to take a health exam or not. Your have more options if you choose to take an exam, but you have to purchase at least $25,000 of life insurance (depending on where you live, some state have a minimum of $50,000). If you want less coverage, you have to get a no exam life insurance policy commonly called final expense life insurance.
If you are tempted to fudge a bit or not even mention a medical condition, don't. There are several ways the carrier may learn about it:
- There is your blood and urine test.
- There are your medical records.
- There is the Medical Information Bureau. From there website: MIB's Underwriting Services are used exclusively by MIB's member life and health insurance companies to assess an individual’s risk and eligibility during the underwriting of life ... insurance policies. These services "alert" underwriters to errors, omissions or misrepresentations made on insurance applications. The the underwriter is required to get more information.
Your life insurance blood test will tell the truth that you know, and even the truth that you don't know! Blood shows when you have an issue and that you are higher risk for certain conditions as well.
Being honest is the best bet, this way your agent can help you. When you have a medical issue, your agent can write a cover letter to go with your exam. This letter will put the best spin on your issue.
What's Included in the Health Exam?
First and foremost you should know you do not remove any clothing! The examiner will start with who you are. Your name, address, date of birth, driver's license number, etc. Then your exam will begin:
- The examiner will weigh you and measure your height.
- They will take your blood pressure three times.
- Depending on your age they may do an EKG.
- They will take your medical history in detail, including your immediate family history, your current medications, etc.
Generally, the life insurance medical exam takes about 30-45 minutes. If you have a lot of medical history it may take a few minutes longer! We will give you detailed instructions how to prepare for your exam so that you can get the best possible results.
Blood Tests Tell the Truth
Here are some of the blood tests you can expect the insurance company to have done.
- Cholesterol Levels: These levels show the health of your cardiovascular system. High cholesterol results can indicate diabetes, pancreatic disease, hypothyroidism, or poor diet. Low results may indicate liver disease, hyperthyroidism, anemia, or chronic digestive problems.
- Liver Function Tests: These tests show the presence of liver disease. Increased levels may indicate alcohol abuse, hepatitis, renal disease, diabetes, tumors, or pancreatitis.
- Glucose Levels: Your blood glucose shows your blood sugar level. If this is high, the insurance carrier may order an A1c test to determine how your body has processed blood sugar over the past few months. Increased levels may indicate diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or other diseases.
- Kidney Tests: These evaluate renal system functioning. Increased levels may indicate problems with urinary tract, gastrointestinal bleeding, heart problems, or high protein diet.
- Prostate Testing (for men): Screens men for prostate cancer. High levels can also be caused by an enlarged prostate or prostatitis.
- Other Tests: Depending on initial lab results, the carrier may order tests for Hepatitis or Alcohol Markers or other specialty tests. When your blood is drawn for insurance the lab keeps it for a period of time in case the carrier requires more tests.
What You Need to Know About Insurance Blood Tests
Don't be afraid of them. Life insurance blood tests will give you a lot of information, especially if you haven't had one in a while. You can always request a copy of the results and take them to your doctor for more information. These tests tell your current health status and so they can:
- Save You Money: You can buy insurance without a medical exam, but the carrier will charge you a higher rate because they have less information. They can't assess their risk as well as if you take the health exam.
- Can Save Your Life: If you have a disease, you need to know about it as soon as possible to get the right medical treatment. We have had clients learn that they are diabetic, have prostate cancer, and other diseases that might have been untreated for a while.
- Can Motivate You: Life insurance blood tests can make you realize you need to diet, exercise, and make lifestyle changes which can improve your health. These life changes may eventually lower your life insurance cost.
Sometimes we see clients where the blood work for life insurance will cause the carrier to postpone the insurance application. This means the applicant has a medical issue to correct or get in control. This doesn't mean you can never get life insurance.
Depending on the issue, you may be able to reapply as soon as 3 months later. But most importantly, you will find out important information about your health. For example, if your cholesterol is high, you need to lower it to the normal range. You can do this with diet and exercise, or medication. Once you are in the normal range and stable, you can apply again. If you are found to be diabetic, you have to get your blood sugar and A1c (long term measure of blood sugar) in the normal range and then be stable for 6 months. During this time your doctor will monitor your readings and you will have a history to show the insurance carrier when you next apply.
The Bottom Line
Don't try to go it alone. Speak to an independent agent. Whether you choose to have an exam or get no exam life insurance, your agent can help you get the best value on your life insurance. An independent agent can help you prepare for your life insurance exam. More importantly, they can steer you to a carrier most likely to give someone with your health a favorable rating.