Tests for Health Insurance

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Health insurance companies may or may not require an examination and tests. If they do, they'll schedule a time for a paramedic or nurse to come to your house, take your blood pressure, ask for your medical history and take urine and blood samples at that time if required. Most of the time, however, the agent simply asks the medical questions at the time he takes the application and there are normally no further tests or the need for a paramedic.

Smokers

  • Some insurance companies require a swab from your cheek, often collected by the agent at the time of writing the policy. The swab is then packaged and sent to a laboratory for testing. The swab test can detect nicotine in the system for several days after its use. The insurance company may also collect urine samples or blood to find out if you're a smoker. While some claim that herbal system cleansers remove the nicotine from the system, to lie on an insurance application is insurance fraud and it negates any coverage on the policy. Companies now have tests that detect the chemicals in the cleansers.

Drug and Alcohol

  • Mouth swabs, urine tests and blood tests detect drug use also. These swabs show telltale signs of cocaine, marijuana and drugs that are more common. Alcohol may remain in your system for up to 10 hours. Cocaine may require as much as 48 hours for flushing. Amphetamines need as much as 5 days. If you habitually use marijuana then it may take as long as a month to clear your system so it doesn't show up on the tests. Barbiturates, methadone, morphine and benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium take as much as a week for casual users and longer if you take them chronically. Some antidepressants and PCP may take weeks to remove. Be aware that cold medicine, anything with poppy seeds and some herbal remedies give false readings. Alert the person taking the test of any home remedies you use.

Diabetes

  • Both urine and blood profiles alert the insurance company to any possibility of diabetes. A measurement of glucose in the blood or urine may indicate diabetes. Urine tests also test the level of sugar in the urine. Companies may do a fructosamine glycated albumin test, AGP, which shows your average sugar levels for your blood for 2 to 3 weeks. If they find something suspicious, they might do a Hemoglobin A1C blood test.

Kidneys

  • The BUN test on blood shows the amount of urea nitrogen and creatine in the blood. High levels occur with kidney disease.

Liver Tests

  • When the liver has been damaged and attempts to repair the damage, it produces enzymes that show up in blood tests. Some of these are high in people with liver damage from alcohol, but the cause may be from problems with the liver or the liver's attempt to heal after filtering out substances in the blood. For several years, contractors who handled wood treated with arsenic could not pass these tests. Eventually, scientists realized that it was the arsenic in the wood. There are also tests to measure the level of bilirubin in the blood. Levels that are too high indicate liver disease.

Protein Levels

  • The total protein measure, measure of albumin and globumin, indicate a problem within the body that may need extensive medical attention. Since insurance companies want to prevent insuring a risk, they test the blood to look for any additional indication that you might have a large claim looming.
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AIDS

  • Insurance companies also test the blood for HIV or AIDS virus if they cover AIDS-related expenses; not all do. They understand that if a client has an indication of the virus, he may be in for some very expensive claims.

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