How a Routine Life Insurance Examination Can Save Your Life
DARIEN, Ill.,Feb. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –Life Quotes, Inc.wants to remind consumers that a little-known side benefit of the dreaded life insurance exam is that it might uncover health problems that you didn’t even know were there. It’s possible that the simple life insurance paramedical examination can provide much more than financial protection.
Life insurance is typically used to protect loved ones from financial devastation in the event of a death, but in a number of cases, the lab results of a routine checkup uncovered something far more sinister—a serious illness that the policyholder was not aware they had, which ultimately saved their life.
“It’s quite common for the lab results of routine life insurance exams to reveal potentially life-threatening illnesses,” says Robert Bland, CEO and founder of Life Quotes, Inc. “Surprising illnesses or conditions are revealed most frequently among adult applicants who have gotten out of the habit of having annual physical checkups. This then puts the life insurance agent into the role of bearer of bad news. Understandably, the reaction upon receiving such news is first denial, then anger at us for bearing the bad news and then appreciation for having uncovered potential problems before they become life-threatening. It’s amazing what kinds of problems a $30 comprehensive blood count test can reveal, which is why we always urge our customers to obtain regular annual checkups, in part so that their families don’t have to use the life insurance policy in the drawer.”
In 1991,NBAAll-Star Earvin “Magic” Johnson was diagnosed with HIV after a routine life insurance examination. Since then, Johnson has dedicated his life to promoting awareness about the deadly disease.
Dr. Joan Schaefer, chief medical officer of Nebraska’s Health and Human Services System, learned she was in the early stages of a rare developmental liver disease called congenital hepatic fibrosis due to the lab results of a simple life insurance medical exam. At the time of the discovery, she had otherwise believed she was healthy and was in the middle of training for a marathon. In 2008, Schaefer underwent an emergency liver transplant to correct the condition.
From a paramedical examiner’s standpoint, it is very common to come across a client who did not know there was a problem with their health until they saw the results of the examination.
“This is fairly commonplace, we don’t know every instance where this happens at a given moment, but we draw blood and ship the blood to the lab and are often privy to those results,” saidJames Fritz, President and Chief Operating Officer for APPS Paramedical Services in Jericho, N.Y. “An examiner may find an abnormal reading on an electrocardiogram or their blood pressure is extremely high or low and they realize something has happened and encourage the person to contact a medical professional saving the applicant from a significant episode or serious medical condition. This may not be publicly recognized, but it is a reality and it does uncover significant illnesses that do save peoples lives.”
According toKim Anderson, Senior Vice President ofExamination Management Services, Inc.(EMSI) her examiners see an applicant with a critical health risk at least twice a year.
“This is often presented to us during the exam. Examiners are trained to know what to look for and if they see something that is out of the ordinary they know they are to inform the applicant and recommend they seek immediate medical attention,” Anderson said.
Although examiners cannot diagnose or offer medical advice about a certain illness, they can refer applicants to medical specialists for further review. And often the insurance agent informs the applicant that the exam revealed a serious illness.
“I had an applicant who thought he was in perfect health and when I told him that the examination showed that he had Type 2 diabetes, at first he didn’t believe me,” said Margaret Thornton, New Business Director.” I strongly recommended that he make an appointment with his doctor as soon as possible, especially since he was planning a trip overseas that year.”
Shortly after an examination revealed that a new applicant had diabetes, Thornton was contacted again by a life insurance examiner who told her another recent applicant had a “stroke-level” blood pressure reading. The applicant was encouraged to contact her physician.
If it is found that you have a serious illness after a paramedical examination, the life insurance company may instill a waiting period based on the type of illness and the severity of the condition.
In the case of dangerously high blood pressure, the waiting period will likely be a year to make for certain the individual has the condition under control, but the policy could still be rated or declined depending on the outcome of the actual diagnosis and treatment.
“Bottom line, it doesn’t happen everyday, but it definitely happens and often these health problems are found from testing that is done at a low cost and in some cases absolutely free of charge to the applicant,” Thornton said.
It is suggested that contacting your health care provider immediately and making an appointment if a serious health condition is found in your test results.
If you have a serious medical condition and have the need to shop for life insurance, It is recommended the following steps will increase your chances of passing the examination and getting a better rate on life insurance.
- Expedite the application process by submitting doctor letters or medical records to your insurance agent before taking the exam
- Make sure you are properly hydrated
- Avoid fatty foods for two days prior to taking the examination
- Abstain from alcohol for 72 hours prior to the exam
- Don’t take ibuprofen or aspirin prior to taking the exam since this will elevate your liver function