The paramedical exam (life insurance medical exam) that insurance companies require will make or break your life insurance underwriting outcome.
Here’s how to make it a positive experience.
Paramedical Exam Overview
Paramedical exams consist of a personal medical history interview and a brief life insurance medical exam that involves a check of your height, weight, blood pressure, and pulse.
The paramed exam may also require blood and urine samples and may include a resting EKG.
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How to Pass Your Paramed
- Ask your agent for the paramedical exam requirements. Each company’s exam requirements vary based on the amount of life insurance applied for and your age.
- Know Your Dates – If you’ve had medical problems in the past or present, make sure you have the dates of any surgeries, treatments, and tests.
- Have your physician contact information available – The examiner will ask you for the names, contact information, and dates for any physician and/hospital visits.
- 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 – When you’re sick, lab results and blood pressure may be elevated, and you will miss out on the best rate classes.
- Watch what you eat before your exam – Limit salty, fatty, and sugary foods for a few days prior to the exam.
- Fast for 6-8 hours prior to your exam – In our experience, fasting provides the best results. Do not fast if your medical condition requires that you do not fast.
- Don’t drink alcohol before your paramedical exam – You should abstain from drinking alcohol for at least 48 hours prior to the exam, and longer if you have a history of elevated liver functions.
- 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.
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
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Paramedical Exam FAQs
The following are the most common questions we receive from clients about life insurance medical exams.
Yes, your lab results are available soon after completing your paramed exam. Your agent can help you get a copy too.
The life insurance companies pay for the
No, in fact, more and more companies are eliminating the
In most cases, no. If you end up with unfavorable lab results it will be easier to move you to another life insurer.
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.
The more life insurance you apply for, the greater the paramedical exam requirements.
You have a choice between having the paramed at home or you may visit a local facility, which is usually a Quest Diagnostics lab.
Yes, the paramedical examiner will record three blood pressure readings and check your pulse.
Paramedical exams are good for 6-12 months depending on your age and company you apply to.
Yes, your exam may be used with another life insurance company.
Coronavirus Paramedical 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.
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Paramedical Exam Questions
While the questions vary slightly by the company, the paramed examiner will ask you many of the following.
Have you ever been diagnosed with or treated for any of the following:
- 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?
- If yes, what types, how often, and if you quit when did you quit?
- They’ll ask you about your parents’ and siblings’ medical history too.
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What Do Life Insurance Blood Tests Test For?
When a paramedical exam is required, the life insurance company will require blood and urine samples.
What do they test with your blood sample?
Life insurance blood tests the following:
- Serum HIV – tests for the presence of HIV
- Hepatitis C Antibody – Detects prior infection with hepatitis C.
- Glucose – Used to help diagnose and evaluate diabetes.
- HbA1c – Evaluates glucose levels for the prior 2-3 months.
- BUN – Used to evaluate the kidney and help 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 – Check for alcohol use, certain medications, and liver disease.
- Blood Alcohol – Tests for the presence of ethanol in your blood.
- Total Protein – A screening test 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 risk, alcohol use.
- PSA – Prostate Specific Antigen used to evaluate prostate cancer risk.
The above are the most common tests performed.
The results of your tests may trigger reflexive testing.
Reflexive testing is more specific testing due to an elevation of one of the above lab tests.
Life insurance companies will soon have another tool at their disposal to evaluate your application.
ExamOne recently released their new LabPiQture product.
This will allow life insurers to access all Quest Diagnostic lab test results in your file.
Older Age Underwriting Tests
In addition to the paramed exam, 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.
Paramedical 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
We use ExamOne whenever possible as it’s part of Quest Diagnostics.
They offer convenient locations and have been the most consistent paramedical 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.
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