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What Do Life Insurance Companies Test for in a Medical Exam?

When applying for life insurance, people are often concerned about the health exams they are required to take before their policy can be instated. It’s only natural that people want to know what precisely they are going to be tested for. Medical exams are commonplace when it comes to life insurance; most people become comfortable with such exams once they understand how the exam will be conducted and what types of tests they will be subject to before they can be approved for a life insurance policy. The following text will address some of the most typically asked questions and provide detailed information about the nature of insurance-related medical exams.

Life Insurance and Medical Exams

Initially it might feel invasive to have your insurance provider checking into your health, something so essentially personal. Yet their stake in your health is substantial; in fact, your insurance provider is taking a financial risk by insuring your health. In order for your provider to take this risk, they need more information to go on. For example, if you drink heavily or smoke, your provider is likely to require a higher premium because these lifestyle habits are associated with greater health risk. In order to assess their own risk, they must assess your health and decide if they can insure you and at what rate.

How Will the Exam Be Conducted?

Many potential life insurance consumers may feel nervous about seeing a doctor or healthcare provider they are unfamiliar with. Yet once they understand the nature of the exam and the convenient methods employed by most insurance companies they become far more at ease. Typically very basic exams are conducted by paramedics or traveling nurses that come right to your home. They are engaged by the insurance provider to perform these routine tests which are essentially standard throughout the life insurance industry. They are certified professionals and come right to your home or even your office to conduct the exam at your scheduled appointment. The exams tend to be brief and involve little inconvenience.

What Do the Tests Involve and What Do They Check For?

Although your height, weight, and blood pressure will be examined, the main aspect of the exam centers upon the drawing of a blood sample. This sample provides the insurer with the information they need to make basic assessments concerning your health. The following breakdown outlines what your blood sample can tell your insurance provider.

Heart Condition

Heart disease is a major health issue today. Your blood sample can provide information about your heart as well as your arteries. Your insurer is finding out information about:


Cholesterol is a waxy substance that can clog your arteries and lead to heart disease. Consequently, your insurer will check your cholesterol level.


This substance is

your ‘good’ cholesterol. Everyone has good cholesterol and your insurer will be looking to see if you have an optimum level of this good cholesterol that helps your body ward off stroke or heart attack.


LDL is Low Density Lipoprotein which is regarded as bad cholesterol. Your test will provide a reading of your LDL level.

Cholesterol/HDL Ratio

This ratio of good to bad cholesterol provides your insurer with a number; this number helps them make a determination about covering you. A ratio 5.0 or under is regarded as a good score .


This ratio is also a helpful determining factor for your insurer. The lower the number the lower the risk or likelihood of heart disease.


These are fat lipids that are associated with an increased risk for heart disease. Conditions like obesity and diabetes as well as lifestyle choices like drinking alcohol can increase the triglycerides ides in the body and increase health risks.


The presence of a diuretic, a medication, in the system indicates that you may already be undergoing treatment for high blood pressure.


The health of your liver is another essential factor your insurer will examine. Their tests look at enzymes like Alkaline Phosphatase, AST, ALT, and GGT which may determine if there is liver or muscle disease present.

Total Protein

Your protein level can indicate to your provider if either liver or kidney disease may be present.

Bilirubin and Albumin

A high level of Bilirubin is associated with liver or gallbladder disease. A diminished level of Albumin, on the other hand, can also be suggestive of severe liver disease as well as indicate the presence of other disorders.


Increased levels of Globulin are associated with infection or immune system problems.


Medical tests involving the pancreas look for blood and urine Glucose as well as Fructosamine. The amount of sugar in your blood can indicate diabetes. If Glucose is present in your urine, there is also a risk of this condition. If Fructosamine is detected, there is a likelihood of uncontrolled diabetes.

Additional Tests

Post Exam

Your exam results typically take several weeks to be reviewed. You will be provided with a copy of the results as will your provider. They will assess the exam results and look at other risk factors that will inform their decision like criminal background and lifestyle choices (i.e. drug use). Then, of course, they will notify you of their decision regarding coverage. Your exam results may also play a role in the rate of your premium. Your insurer will be able to discuss in detail how your exam impacts your rate and also address any other issues or concerns you have about the nature of their exam.

Category: Insurance

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