How To Optimize Your Insurance Medical Exam
By Marnina Delahanty
There are many different kinds of life insurance. If you and your broker find that your needs and circumstances are best paired with a fully underwritten policy, you’ll need a medical exam. Generally, these exams take place in your home, and at your convenience. Once, a rancher client of mine scheduled his at 4:30 AM! A good medical exam company truly accommodates your needs. To get the best health rating, which results in the lowest rates, your job is then to prepare your habits, mindset, and body to optimize your medical exam outcome. The better your rating, the more coverage your premium buys! Here are 10 tips for success.
1. Schedule Early in the Morning.
You’ll need to fast 6 - 8 hours prior to your exam. Absolutely anything you eat can affect your blood sugar and blood pressure, so be strict with yourself.
2. No Caffeine or Smoking!
Avoid your morning coffee until after the exam. If you smoke, (and we hope you don’t…) hold off on that morning cigarette, too. Caffeine and nicotine elevate your blood pressure readings, which, in turn, worsens your rate class.
3. Avoid Salty and Fatty Foods.
This one takes some planning. Avoiding salty and fatty foods can improve your cholesterol and blood pressure, so avoid these in the weeks leading up to your exam. If that’s too long, aim for a week. And if a week is still unmanagable, at a minimum shoot for 24 hours prior to your medical exam. Every little bit helps!
4. Drink Adequate Water!
Staying hydrated will make it easier to produce your urine sample and give blood. When you're hydrated, your blood volume increases, and your veins are plumper and easier to access.
5. Avoid Alcohol and Marijuana.
Even if it’s legal in your state, marijuana can negatively affect your underwriting class since some life insurance companies will consider you a smoker and price you the same higher rates as a tobacco smoker. Don’t use marijuana within 30 days of your exam. Alcohol dehydrates you, which makes it hard to draw blood. It also raises your blood pressure, which can increase your life insurance rates.
6. Don’t Schedule During Your Menstrual Period.
If you menstruate, schedule your exam when you’re NOT on your period. It can contaminate your urine sample, which would require you to repeat this part of the exam. Some women test anemic during their periods, whereas their iron counts are healthy otherwise. If it comes up after you’ve scheduled your exam, no problem. Reschedule when your period is over.
7. Prepare a Medication List, and Your Medical History.
Your examiner will ask about your medical history, so be prepared with a list of any medications you are taking, both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Your preparation will make your medical exam go quicker.
8. Avoid Working Out.
Counterintuitive, huh? Exercise can raise your blood pressure and pulse rate. While an evening stroll is one thing, you’ll want to avoid strenuous cardio the night before and the morning of your exam.
9. Sleep Well!
When you’re well-rested, your blood pressure is lower. Sleep also helps offset anxiety and fear. All these factors lead to better test results, and an improved rate class. Remember, the better your rate class, the more coverage your premium will buy you!
10. Avoid Stress!
Your mindset will also contribute to your blood pressure. Leading up to your exam, avoid stressful interactions and zen-out! If you’re anxious about your medical exam, or fear needles and blood draws, discuss it with your examiner, and explain your concerns. They may note your fears in your file, and should your nervousness lead to unusually high blood pressure results, the insurance company underwriter may factor these notes in as they assess you.