Life Insurance Blood Tests: What Are They Looking For?

compare life insurance quotes from 30+ companies in Ontario


  • blood test

Life insurance is a product that everyone should have. It is very important if you have a spouse and children. Life insurance can cover death expenses and debt that you owe. Ensuring you have adequate coverage can make life easier for those left behind. Mortgage insurance is very important to protect your home asset. At a certain age, you may be asked to go through a medical exam process.

Why Do Life Insurance Companies Do Medical Examinations?

medical exam

When you apply for life insurance, most companies will conduct a medical examination as part of the process. A medical examination will determine whether or not you are a candidate to be insured. This type of examination will also detect certain health issues and risks you may have. A life insurance company will assess each applicant according to risk factors. This will determine what the applicants annual premium will be. The higher the risk, the higher the premium.  Conducting blood testing can reveal certain health issues, and drug and alcohol use.

Can Life Insurance Blood Test Detect Cancer?

Most life insurance companies do not test for cancer in a blood test. Some cancers are very hard to detect in the early stages. However, insurance companies do review screening tests that have been conducted. Some screening tests are colonoscopies and mammograms.

Do Life Insurance Blood Tests Check for Drugs?

It is routine for insurance companies to do drug testing through a blood test. A blood test can determine if the applicant has certain substances in their blood. The drugs that can be detected are:

Can Blood Tests Detect Diabetes?

Diabetes

Certain blood tests are conducted to determine whether diabetes is present.
Diabetic treatment monitoring can also be determined.

Glucose Plasma – measures levels of glucose, the main energy source, in the blood. Quite often levels are lowest in the morning. The levels usually rise 1 to 2 hours after meals. Hyperglycemia is a condition when elevated levels of glucose are repeatedly found. This condition can detect diabetes mellitus.

Hemoglobin A1c – measures average glucose levels over a period of the last 2-3 months.  This blood test can be used to diagnose diabetes as well as monitoring treatment. This is the test that is most often relied upon by insurance companies, as the test does not rely on food intake or fasting.

Can Blood Tests Detect Heart Disease?

Lipid profile testing requires correct interpretation. Lipid, is fat that is produced by the liver. It is necessary to be present for normal body function.  Results from this category of blood testing in conjunction with other risk factors can detect heart disease or a high risk of heart disease. Levels of cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (HDL) and Low density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides are tested. If high levels of cholesterol are found it could indicate artery damage and cardiovascular disease. HDL is the good cholesterol and LDL is the bad cholesterol. HDL takes cholesterol away from the blood vessels back to the liver, while LDL lines the walls of the arteries and hardens. High levels of LDL can indicate a high risk for a heart attack.

High levels of triglyceride lipids can also signify a risk of heart disease.

Do Life Insurance Blood Tests Check for STDS?

Blood tests will detect certain sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, herpes, hepatitis, and syphilis. A blood test for HIV detection will identify antibodies pertaining to HIV-1, HIV-2 and HIV-1 antigen p24.  The HIV-1 antigen p24 test will detect HIV in its early stages. It can detect HIV 2 to 6 weeks before it’s onset. After 4 to 6 weeks of detecting the p24 antigen, the HIV-1 and HIV-2 would then be detected, identifying HIV infection.  Other sexually transmitted diseases that are detected can lead to future health issues.

Blood Tests that Identify Kidney Problems

kidney

Certain blood tests can determine how well your kidneys are functioning.  Creatinine and Urea levels are checked during a blood test. Creatinine is found in the blood when muscles metabolize energy. Elevated levels of creatinine, a waste product found in the blood, can indicate kidney impairment. Urea is found in the blood when the protein is broken down by the liver.  Urea, another waste product, can also indicate kidney impairment.

Detecting Liver Function in a Blood Test

As part of the life insurance medical assessment liver function screening is conducted through a blood test. There are a number of tests that are performed to identify liver issues. The following tests are conducted:

  • Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP) – a high level of this protein could indicate liver disease.
  • Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) and Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) – these liver enzymes are released when there is liver damage. The higher the number, the more damage there is to the liver.
  • Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase (GGT) – high levels of this enzyme is also an indicator of liver damage.  Certain medications, illicit drug use, heavy alcohol intake and bile tract obstruction can lead to high levels. of GGT.
  • Bilirubin – high levels of bilirubin, a product of hemoglobin, can cause jaundice, indicating liver problems.

Testing Serum Blood Proteins

Blood testing

Serum blood proteins, albumin and globulin are the fluid portion of a blood sample. These proteins in high levels detect different diseases and illnesses.

  • Albumin – is a serum protein produced in the liver.  It feeds tissues, carries hormones, vitamins, drugs, and calcium throughout the body.  Also, Albumin prevents fluids from leaking out of blood vessels.
  • Globulin – high levels of this serum protein can have many causes. Further testing is usually required when high levels are present.

Life insurance companies conduct blood tests as part of their medical examination process. Blood tests can reveal a lot of information about the life insurance applicant. If blood tests reveal the applicant uses any illegal drugs, they will be declined for life insurance.  Urinalysis is also part of the lab workup. Urine samples screen for nicotine and cotinine, which determines tobacco use. A smoker’s annual premium would be much higher than a non smokers premium. Tobacco use can lead to many terminal health issues which would make a smoker high risk for life insurance companies.

Resources:

https://www.dynacare.ca/insurance-professional/advisors/advisor-resources/advisor-resources/tests-for-life-insurance.aspx
https://ca.rbcwealthmanagement.com/delegate/services/file/869283/content