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What Is a Life Insurance Blood Test? 

A life insurance blood test is a normal part of a life insurance medical underwriting that helps insurers assess your overall health so they can charge you the appropriate premium. Blood tests also help insurers check that the information you provided on the application is accurate. If your blood test results do not match the details you provided, it can raise a red flag.

After a licensed medical technician performs a life insurance blood test on you, they’ll take your blood samples to a lab and screen for health conditions that could affect your lifespan. For example, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or glucose levels, sexually transmitted diseases, high enzyme levels, and indications of drug use could all make you a high-risk applicant. 

What Is Medical Underwriting? 

Medical underwriting is when insurers assess your medical history to determine whether you’re eligible for coverage. The more unhealthy you are, the more risk is involved in insuring you since you’re more likely to make a claim. In this case, the insurer may charge higher premiums to offset the risk. 

Medical underwriting can involve different tests, including blood and urine samples, as well as medical history and lifestyle questionnaires. Typically, any of your past or existing medical conditions will be excluded from your policy, but the insurer will usually still cover new medical conditions that arise after your policy start date. 

How Do Life Insurance Blood Tests Work? 

Depending on the type of life insurance you’re purchasing, you may be required to complete life insurance blood testing. Here’s how life insurance blood tests work. 

Which Life Insurance Policies Utilize Blood Testing? 

Whether you need to undergo blood testing depends on the life insurance company you work with and the policy type you plan to purchase. For example, some insurers may offer no-exam policies, which could be beneficial if you have a medical condition that might disqualify you from a standard policy. However, skipping medical exams could often lead to higher premiums since the insurer would have to take on more risks without a clear idea of your health status. So, in general, if you’re looking for life insurance policies with comprehensive coverage and affordable coverage, be prepared for a blood test. 

How Are the Tests Performed?

Blood tests usually take around 30 minutes, but you may have to wait a few days to a few weeks to receive the results. During the exam, a licensed medical technician will take your blood pressure, measure your height and weight, and draw a blood sample. In most cases, the sample is taken from a vein in your arm. Next, your blood sample will be sent to a lab for analysis. They’ll check for any signs that could indicate potential health risks or conditions. Your lab results will then be sent to your insurer’s underwriting department so they can determine whether you’re eligible for coverage and what your premium should be.

What Do They Test For?

Insurance companies typically use blood tests to look for health indicators that could make you a high-risk applicant, including the following:

  • Diabetes: High glucose levels can indicate diabetes or prediabetes.
  • Kidney disease: Elevated creatinine levels in your bloodstream may suggest kidney malfunction.
  • Heart disease: High levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol raise your risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • Enzyme levels: High enzyme levels indicate inflammation around your organs.
  • Recreational drug use: Some insurers may deny you coverage if they find evidence of marijuana or recreational drug use in your system.
  • Prescription drugs: Any prescription medications in the bloodstream could indicate treatment for specific health conditions or risks.
  • HIV or AIDS: These diseases are considered chronic conditions by some insurers, and you may face higher premiums if you have them.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases: Though you typically will not be denied coverage if you have an STD, insurers expect you to disclose it on your application.

How Do Insurers Use the Information? 

Blood tests have become a standard part of life insurance medical exams since they give insurers the most accurate insights into your current and potential medical conditions. These blood tests also help insurers classify you into a unique health class, which could directly impact your premiums. Some common categories, ranging from lowest to highest premiums, include Preferred Plus, Preferred, Standard, Preferred Smoker, and Standard Smoker. 

For example, if your test results show elevated cholesterol levels and blood glucose, you could be placed into the Standard category, which means you’ll most likely face higher premiums than those in the Preferred Plus category. Note that these category names could vary depending on the insurer. 

How Much Does Blood Testing Affect the Price of Premiums? 

Monthly Price for 20-Year Term Policy, $500,000
45 YO Female, Good Health
45 YO Female, Kidney Disease
45 YO Female, Heart Disease
45 YO Female, Type 2 Diabetes
45 YO Female, High Blood Pressure
45 YO Female, High Cholesterol

As you can see, your blood test results can have a noticeable effect on your life insurance premium. For example, having a history of heart disease could increase your premium by almost five-fold. Diabetes can also lead to substantially higher insurance costs. While this price difference may seem unfair, insurers have the right to set these rates. After all, if your health is poor, you’re more likely to file a claim, so higher premiums help them compensate for the increased risk of insuring you. 

Can You Be Denied Coverage? 

Yes, you can be denied coverage for life insurance in some severe cases. For example, if you lied or withheld information in your application, suffer from a chronic illness, use illegal drugs, consume alcohol excessively, or have other health issues that fall into the high-risk category. 

What To Do If You Are Denied Coverage

Here are some steps to take if you’re denied coverage after undergoing a blood test during the underwriting process.

  1. Find out the reason. Contact your insurer to find out the reason for the coverage denial. It could be due to a specific health condition detected in your blood test.
  2. Talk to an agent. A life insurance agent can help you understand why your application was rejected and work with you to increase your chances of approval. 
  3. Get a second opinion. If you believe the reason you were denied is based on incorrect or insufficient medical information, consider getting a second opinion from a different medical professional.
  4. Appeal the decision. If you believe the denial was unfair, appeal the decision. Once you’ve gathered all relevant medical reports and documents, contact your insurer to find out how the appeal process works. 
  5. Explore no-exam policies. If you’re still unable to get coverage after appealing the decision, you may want to explore other insurance providers and plans. Some insurers offer no-exam policies that will not require you to undergo blood testing, which could be a convenient choice if you do not want to go through the process again. 

Putting It All Together 

Blood tests offer a snapshot of your health status, help insurers assess your risk level, and assign an appropriate premium. Generally, the healthier you are, the less risky you are to insure, and the lower your premium. But if you worry that a blood test could impact your eligibility to purchase life insurance, consider no-medical exam life insurance policies on the market. Remember, though, that no-exam policies could carry higher rates and lower coverage amounts. So, before making a decision, consult a life insurance agent who can guide you toward the most suitable option based on your situation.

Frequently Asked Questions  

Suppose you disagree with a life insurance company’s underwriting decision. In that case, you can generally appeal the decision by providing additional medical information or seeking a second opinion if you think the results of your life insurance medical exam may be incorrect. Contact your life insurance company’s customer service department for more details on what steps to take. 

If you were in less-than-perfect health when you bought life insurance coverage, but now your health has improved, you might be able to get a lower rate if your insurer allows for reconsideration or re-rating. If your insurer is willing to reconsider your rate, you must undergo another medical exam to check your weight, blood pressure, etc., and take blood and urine samples. 

No. Due to HIPAA compliance, your life insurance company cannot sell your information to third parties. HIPAA is a federal law that protects your medical records and limits who can access your health information.

Plan for your family’s future. Get a life insurance quote today.

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Plan for your family’s future. Get a life insurance quote today.

Get a quote