Smart Ways to Prepare For Your Life Insurance Medical Exam
Presented by Tyler Roop, Operations Manager
1. Drink Plenty of Water!
Water cleans out your system and hydrates your body. And not only will it help to clean out your digestive system and urinary tracts, but it also increases blood flow and will make it easier for you to produce a urine specimen.
All of that has the collective effect of giving you a higher energy level, which will also make you feel more positive going into the exam.
2. Watch Your Diet
A few days before your exam (though a full week is even better) modify your diet. Cut back or eliminate your sodium intake, and reduce your sugar consumption. You should also do your best to avoid consuming fats, particularly red meat. Since salt, sugar, and fats all have the potential to elevate either blood pressure or cholesterol levels or both, cutting them out a few days beforehand will minimize their impact.
That can make a significant difference if you are borderline with any of your readings. Insurance companies rate various health factors in tiers. For example, you may be considered to have normal blood pressure with a reading up to 140/90. But should the reading bump up a few points, say to 142/91, they may rate you as having mild hypertension and increase your premium.
Some foods can actually improve your test results. This will include whole grain foods, just about anything with oats in it, fish, nuts, and just about any kind of vegetable. During the week leading up your exam, you should emphasize these foods wherever possible. One other point in regard to diet. Eat lightly the day before the exam, that way you won’t feel bloated on the day of. This will also help to keep your weight at a minimum.
3. No Alcohol for a Week Before the Exam
The last thing that you want to do is undergo a medical exam of any sort with elevated alcohol levels in your blood. You might avoid that by not consuming any alcohol for at least 24 hours before your exam. But it’s also important to consider that alcohol increases your weight, which is another situation that you want to avoid going into an exam. Cutting out alcohol for a whole week before the exam should help to stabilize your weight at minimal levels.
4. Avoid Exercise on the Day of the Exam
Not only does exercise elevate your blood pressure, but it also causes elevated protein levels in your urine. The better strategy is to simply relax on the day of your exam, and put off any plans to exercise until after the exam is over.
5. Don’t Eat on Exam Day
It’s typically recommended that you don’t eat for at least 12 hours prior to any exam that will involve drawing blood work. Food of just about any kind can distort the results of your blood work, and this will be your last opportunity to “clean your blood”.
In addition, not eating on the day of the exam will also help to keep your weight down. Once again we get back to that point that a difference of a couple of pounds on the scale can have an impact on your premium rate.
6. Avoid Stressful Situations a Few Days Before Your Exam
Though it’s never possible to completely avoid stressful situations – or even to know when they’ll crop up – you should do everything possible to avoid known stressful situations in the days leading up your exam.
Stress not only elevates blood pressure, but it can also affect your digestive system. You want to make sure that you are as calm as possible on the day of the exam. If need be, take a relaxing walk in the woods, or listen to peaceful music. And while you’re doing that, put any thoughts of anything meaningful out of your head.
7. Dress Light For the Weigh-in and Stand Up Tall For the Measuring
There’s no way to get around the fact that life insurance companies like tall skinny people. By dressing light, you will minimize your weight upon weigh-in. You should also do your best to stand up straight and tall when they are measuring your height. The idea is to maximize your height, while minimizing your weight.
One of the key factors that life insurance companies look for is the weight-to-height ratio. That means that your weight has to be proportionate to your height. By dressing light and standing tall, you’ll improve your ratio.
8. If You’re Nervous, Ask the Examiner to Take Your Blood Pressure Last
“White coat hypertension” is a real. A person’s blood pressure can rise significantly, just on the thought of having a medical exam of any sort. For many people, this happens because of the potential for discovery of a significant medical problem that an exam can reveal.
If you have this syndrome, or if you feel nervous on the day the exam, ask the examiner to hold off taking your blood pressure until the very end of the exam. At that point, you’ll be more comfortable with the whole process, not to mention the fact that most of it will be behind you and you’ll start to relax. As a result, it’s likely that you’ll calm down and your blood pressure will stabilize.
Don’t be hesitant to ask for this change in the priority. You can even explain to the examiner that medical exams make you nervous, and elevate your blood pressure. It’s almost a certainty that he or she will fully understand, and accommodate your request.
If you have concerns about your findings that might show up on a medical exam, share them with your insurance agent in advance. If findings are known, the agent can match you up with an insurance company that is likely to take the most positive view of your condition or situation.
AFTER YOUR EXAM
Once the examiner is done administering your life insurance medical exam they may ask some additional questions about your health history. This will depend on the particular carrier and on how much information you submitted to your life insurance agent prior to taking your life insurance physical exam. The examiner will then submit your labs to a lab processing company. And that company will—you guessed it, process your lab work (i.e. screen your blood and urine for any negative health markers or drugs). The lab processing company will then submit the findings to the life insurance underwriter. At times, an attending physician statement from your doctor or doctors will also be requested.
The life insurance underwriter will then review your lab results and offer you life insurance based on those results. Your results will determine your rate class: Preferred Plus, Preferred, Standard Plus, Standard and Table Rated (B-H). Roop Financial Services will make sure you have been approved at the appropriate rate class. At times it is necessary for us to “shop” your results with another life insurance company if we are not happy with the rate class you have been offered.
Give us a call (901) 683-4030, and let’s see what we can work out.