No Medical Exam Life Insurance

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Standard life insurance policies in Canada come with obligatory medical exams. The primary reason life insurance companies need to administer medical exams is to decide how much premium to charge a potential policyholder. The insurance company is checking to see if you have any health condition that could eventually affect your mortality or disability and hence their risk. The greater the risk, the higher your premium rates will be.

They try to accurately judge how long a potential policyholder will live with two factors: longevity charts (statistics) you are your medical exams and health history. Let’s say a longevity chart reveals that men at age 27 die on average at a higher rate than women at age 27. It means that the insurance company would be taking a larger risk by insuring a man than a woman.

Your life insurance and some health insurance premiums depend on a few factors:

  • Your age: Generally, the older you are the less insurance you can buy without medical examination. For instance, you may be able to buy $50,000 without an exam if you are under 40 years, but by age 50 that amount could drop to $10,000.
  • Amount of insurance you are buying: If you are only interested in obtaining a final expense policy with a low value, an examination may not be required.
  • Your medical history
  • Your family medical history
  • Your occupation
  • Lifestyle habits such as smoking, drinking, recreational drug use and exercise

What is Insurance Company Looking for?

When samples of blood, urine, and oral fluid are taken from you, the insurer will test for the presence of antibodies or antigens to the HIV virus; cholesterol and related lipids; liver or kidney disorder; diabetes; antibodies to hepatitis; prostate specific antigen (PSA); and immune disorders. The urine sample may go through routine analysis, plus screening for certain medications, cocaine, and other drugs.

Medical Examination May Include:

  • Measurement of your weight and height
  • Measurement of your blood pressure and pulse
  • Blood test (to check things such as cholesterol, glucose, protein, and HIV): There are two ways your blood can be drawn: through a finger prick or drawn via a needle. A younger person may be asked for a finger-prick blood sample; however, if you’re looking to buy a large amount of life insurance, you may have to submit to a full blood profile.
  • Urinalysis (to check things such as protein, glucose, creatinine and cocaine)

If you are over a certain age or if you are requesting a particularly high benefit amount, the insurance company may request additional testing such as an ECG.

Who does undertake medical examination?

In most cases, the insurance company will hire an independent paramedical professional to perform your medical examination. Although the insurance company might order what is called an attending physician’s statement from your family doctor, you cannot have the exam done by your own physician. Usually your medical exam can be done in the privacy of your home or office unless the insurance company will require additional tests then you may be referred to a clinic to complete your medical exam.
Results are sent directly to the home office for the underwriter to review. You can send a written request if you want a copy of the results and usually they release the results to you or your doctor.

What happens next?

Then an insurance company reviews your life insurance application and the results of your medical exam. If something doesn’t satisfy them or their suspicions are raised for any reason, they have the option to order whatever additional medical tests they consider necessary.

Tips on How to Prepare for the Medical Exam

Don’t lie on your medical exams. Whatever you do, you cannot significantly change the results of a medical examination. Certain health conditions simply cannot be masked or hidden. But to obtain the best possible results (at least, not to make them worse than they actually are), here are some tips:

  • Get a good night sleep the night before your exam.
  • If you feel a cold or flu coming on then you should reschedule for a later date.
  • If you take some medication, it is important not to change your schedule, but you have to inform about it before the exam.
  • Don’t drink alcohol for at least eight hours before the exam.
  • If you have “white coat syndrome” and getting overexcited before the exam it could reflect with a higher blood pressure. Ask that this procedure be done when you are feeling a bit more relaxed.
  • Don’t smoke for at least an hour before the exam.
  • Don’t drink coffee, tea, or other caffeinated drinks like cola for at least 2-3 hours prior to the exam.
  • You may have to fast if you are giving blood. It is usual that you must avoid eating for at least eight hours.
  • Limit salt intake and high-cholesterol food 24 hours before your exam.
  • Don’t engage in strenuous physical activities 24 hours before the exam. Exercise can skew the level on your cholesterol readings.
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