The paramed exam (life insurance medical exam) will make or break your life insurance underwriting outcome.
Here’s how to make it a positive experience.
Paramed Exam Overview
Paramed exams consist of a personal medical history interview and a brief life insurance medical exam.
Your height, weight, blood pressure, and pulse will be checked.
Blood and urine samples may be required.
A resting EKG is necessary for some cases.
The exam is the same whether you buy term life insurance or universal life.
How to Pass Your Paramed Exam
- Ask your agent for the paramed exam requirements. Exam requirements vary based on the amount of life insurance applied for and your age.
- Know Your Dates – Make sure you have the dates of any surgeries, treatments, and tests.
- Have your physician contact information available – Examiners will ask you for the names & contact information of any physicians you have.
- Have a list of your medications and dosages – Make sure you have the names and dosages for all medications you take.
- If you are sick, reschedule for a later date – Lab results and blood pressure may be elevated, and you will miss out on the best rate classes.
- Watch what you eat – Limit salty, fatty, and sugary foods for a few days prior to the exam.
- Fast for 6-8 hours prior to your exam – Fasting provides the best results, but do not fast if your medical condition requires that you do not.
- Don’t drink alcohol before your paramed exam – Don’t drink for at least 48 hours prior to the exam.
- Don’t use tobacco products before your exam – If you smoke or use tobacco products, stop using them for a few hours prior to your exam as they tend to elevate your blood pressure.
- Answer the examiner’s questions – Make sure you understand the question before answering. You don’t have to guess and you shouldn’t answer more than what they are asking you for.
- Limit exercise activity on exam day – Working out will temporarily raise your blood pressure and has also been known to cause elevated liver test results. Skip your routine on the day of the exam.
- Schedule morning appointments when possible – Make sure you schedule a morning exam when possible as your blood pressure is typically lower, and it will be easier on you since you are fasting.
Special Underwriting Notes:
Special note for cigar smoking and chewing tobacco programs.
If your quote requires a negative urine sample, make sure you stop long enough beforehand to ensure the negative test.
Here’s ExamOne’s consumer guide to help you prepare.
If you need a quick overview of the entire application process, our Life Insurance 101 guide is helpful.
The most common questions we receive from clients include:
What do the life insurance medical exams test for?
Life insurance medical exams test for elevated blood sugar levels, kidney functions, liver functions, cholesterol, hepatitis, blood cell counts, PSA levels, illegal drugs, cotinine, etc.
Do I receive a copy of my lab results?
Yes, your lab results are available soon after completing your paramed exam. Your agent can help you get a copy too.
Who pays for the paramed exam?
The life insurance companies pay for the paramed exam. There is never any cost to you, ever.
Do all life insurers require paramed exams?
No, in fact, more and more companies are eliminating the paramed exam requirement.
Can I repeat my test if the results are unfavorable?
In most cases, no. If you end up with unfavorable lab results it will be easier to move you to another life insurer.
How does the examiner collect my blood and urine samples?
The examiner collects a few small vials of blood and gives you a cup to collect the urine…and no, they don’t come into the bathroom with you.
How does the amount of life insurance affect the medical exam?
The more life insurance you apply for, the greater the paramed exam requirements.
Where is the paramed exam completed?
You have a choice between having the paramed at home or you may visit a local facility, which is usually a Quest Diagnostics lab.
Does the paramedical check my blood pressure?
Yes, the paramedical examiner will record three blood pressure readings and check your pulse.
How long is the paramed exam good for?
Paramed exams are good for 6-12 months depending on your age and company you apply to.
Can my paramed exam be used at another company?
Yes, your exam may be used with another life insurance company.
Coronavirus Paramed Exam Update – ExamOne is still completing exams subject to the following:
- In the last 14 days have you exhibited signs of fever or respiratory distress, or had close contact with someone who has?
- In the last 14 days have you traveled to China, South Korea, Iran, Hong Kong or Italy or had close contact with an individual who has?
If you answer “yes” to either question, ExamOne will postpone scheduling your exam for a minimum of 14 days.
Paramed Exam Questions
Have you been diagnosed with or treated for:
- High blood pressure?
- High cholesterol?
- Heart Conditions? (chest pain, murmur, heart attack, EKG)
- Cancer? (Breast cancer, melanoma, prostate cancer, etc.)
- GI Problems – Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Hepatitis?
- Endocrine Disorders – Diabetes, Thyroid Conditions, etc?
- Respiratory Problems – asthma, emphysema, sleep apnea
- Mental or Nervous Disorder? (anxiety, depression, OCD, bipolar, suicide ideation/attempts)
- Brain Disorders? (Seizures, epilepsy, TIA, MS, strokes)
- Have you ever been diagnosed with AIDs?
- Any disorders of the blood or immune system? (anemia, leukemia, lymphoma, HIV, etc.)
- Do you drink alcohol?
- If yes, how often do you drink?
- Have you ever used illegal drugs?
- If yes, what do/did you use, and when?
- Drug addiction and/or alcohol abuse?
- Any other health history not mentioned?
- Have you ever used tobacco?
- What types, how often, and if you quit when did you quit?
- They’ll ask you about your parents’ and siblings’ medical history too.
It’s important to let the examiner know about all physicians you’ve used in the event medical records are needed.
When possible, we use Human API to speed the medical records process.
Life Insurance Lab Tests
The life insurance paramedical will require blood and urine samples.
What do they test with your blood sample?
- Serum HIV – tests for the presence of HIV
- Hepatitis C Antibody – Detects prior infection.
- Glucose – Used to help diagnose and evaluate diabetes.
- HbA1c – Evaluates glucose levels for the prior 2-3 months.
- BUN – Used to evaluate and diagnose kidney disease.
- Creatinine – Used to assess kidney function.
- Estimated GFR – Measures the functions of the kidneys.
- Alkaline Phosphatase – Checks for bone or liver disorders.
- AST – Tests for liver, heart, or muscle disorders.
- ALT – Test for liver disease.
- GGT – Alcohol use, certain medications, and liver disease.
- Blood Alcohol – Tests for ethanol in your blood.
- Total Protein – Screens for kidney and liver disease.
- Albumin – Tests for advanced liver disease.
- Globulin – May indicate infections, immune disorders, etc.
- Cholesterol – Measures the amount in your bloodstream.
- HDL Cholesterol – The “good” cholesterol.
- LDL – The “bad” cholesterol that clogs arteries.
- Cholesterol/HDL Ratio – Measures total cholesterol to HDL.
- LDL/HDL Ratio – Used to calculate heart disease risk.
- Triglycerides – May indicate heart disease, alcohol use.
- PSA – Used to evaluate prostate cancer risk.
The above are the most common tests performed.
Reflexive testing is more specific testing due to an elevation of one of the above lab tests.
Life insurers will soon have another tool at their disposal.
ExamOne recently released their new LabPiQture product.
This allows life insurers to access all Quest Diagnostic lab test results in your medical files.
Older Age Underwriting Tests
More companies are implementing senior life insurance underwriting requirements.
Examples of tests include:
Chair Stand Test – You may be asked to sit in a chair and stand up without having to use your arms.
This test may be repeated a few times throughout the exam.
Clock Drawing Test – You’ll be asked to draw a clock with the numbers 1-12 on the clock.
You may then be asked to draw the hands of the clock at a certain time.
Gait Test – Assesses the insured’s ability to walk at their normal pace across a room and back.
Word Recall Test – The examiner will tell you 5 words they want you to remember.
At some point during the exam, they will ask you to recall those words.
Each company has different criteria.
You may be asked to complete some of the above with one company, but not another.
We’ll let you know if your paramed exam may involve one of these tests.
Paramed Exam Conclusion
Paramed exams are not as bad as some agents make them out to be.
In many cases, the life insurance medical exam takes 25-45 minutes to complete.
We’ll schedule your paramed exam with you.
We use ExamOne whenever possible as it’s part of Quest Diagnostics.
They offer convenient locations and have been the most consistent paramedi exam company.
We’ll prep you ahead of time to ensure that you know what to expect. We work for you, not the life insurance company.
Our goal is to help you find your best term life insurance rate based on your medical history.