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What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Paramedical Exam

| April 28, 2015 | 5 Comments


Regardless of whether you’re purchasing a term or permanent life policy, you will probably have to undergo a life insurance medical exam. Unless you’re relatively young, applying for a very small policy or non-medical life insurance, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll have to go through a paramedical. Usually, these tests are performed by paramedical professionals (registered nurses). These paramedical professionals work on a contract basis with the life insurer, and they can do the exam in your home or workplace.

A basic paramedical exam takes about 25 -30 minutes and you will not have to get undressed. The health professional will measure your height, weight, blood pressure, pulse, and will collect blood and urine samples. Though the underwriter might want a statement from your attending physician (APS), you cannot have your doctor perform the actual exam. You will not have to pay for the exam; the insurance company will foot the bill. The paramedical will also usually ask for your medical history during the exam asking similar questions your agent asked in the initial application. You may have to undergo additional tests, depending on your age and the amount of coverage for which you’re applying. For instance, some insurers require older individuals applying for large policies to submit to an EKG and/or a treadmill test.

What They’re Interested In

The insurance company will be testing for the presence of the following:

  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol or lipid levels
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis
  • Immune disorders
  • Liver and kidney disorders
  • Certain medications and illicit drugs
  • The presence of alcohol or tobacco in your system
  • Sugar, protein and blood in your urine

Tips to be ready for your paramedical exam

  • Book the exam for first thing in the morning. Get a good night sleep and wake up relaxed, may ease “white coat anxiety” — the tendency for some to exhibit elevated blood pressure readings during an exam and you can do most of the other tips in your sleep!
  • Stay well-hydrated. Drinking water before the exam can make it easier to draw your blood.
  • Fasting. You should not eat for four to eight hours before the exam. Even a muffin or pop tart eaten an hour before the exam could result in elevated glucose levels.
  • Avoid physical exercise. Take it easy and stay away from the gym, other physical activities and sports 12 hours before.
  • Refrain from alcohol. For 12 hours before the exam, no booze. Alcohol can cause dehydration and a lot of a booze within 12 hours of the exam could result in elevated liver function tests, which could move you out of a preferred category, and also lead to additional tests.
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine. You should avoid both coffee and smoking an hour before the test, as caffeine and nicotine elevate blood pressure.
  • Limit salt and high-fat foods. For an hour before the exam, lay off the salt and fatty foods, as they may affect exam results.
  • Know your medications. You will be asked about medical history during the exam, including whether you are currently taking any prescription or over-the-counter medication.
  • Test outside menstruation periods. You should not take the test when they are menstruating.

It’s important to ensure the exam is accurate and that you receive the best possible results. Following these tips will help you through the exam with the best possible results and possibly lower the cost of your insurance.

If you have any questions about the paramedical exam or the underwriting process you can contact me.

Andrew W. Bradley @AndrewWBradley

Photo credit: Pedro Vezini / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

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Category: Finance, Living, Tips, Weekly Themes

About the Author ()

Andrew is a licensed Life Insurance Broker and Registered Retirement Consultant-RRC® helping Ottawa families since 2011. He is a father of two boys, owner of, and was a host of Ottawa Experts on Rogers Cable 22. Author's website.

Comments (5)

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  1. KD says:

    I hadn’t thought of many of these tips. Thank you!

  2. Heidi c. says:

    Very interesting. We went through this several years ago when applying for life insurance and the company was definitely very thorough. More so than my family doctor at the time.

  3. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    Very informative, thank you for all the information. This will no doubt be a big help to those having to take a paramedical examination.

  4. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    Very informative, thank you for all the information. This will no doubt be a big help to those having to take a paramedical examination. hmm it says this is a duplicate but I don’t see the first one I did, so here I go again since I need a link!

  5. Victoria Ess says:

    Thank you SO much for these tips! I’m sure I will have to do this sometime down the road.

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