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18 July, 2008

How To-54: "How to Prepare for a Health Insurance Physical"

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

When you are applying for Health Insurance, you will need to visit the doctor's office for a physical. Make sure you are in top shape to pass, by reading these simple tips.


  1. Stop smoking. This is the single most effective way to reduce your health care premiums. Having nicotine in your system (which can be detected in a urine sample for up to 14 days for smokers, even occasional ones, will get you the worst ranking from actuaries. Even if you are a complete non-smoker, a single instance of smoking, such as trying one cigar with the guys at a poker party, is enough to skew your lab results.
  2. Stop eating. A two-day fast before the exam will dramatically decrease those bad lipids (cholesterol) in your bloodstream. But a two day fast is hardly good for your health. Rather, fast from midnight the night before. You will have more favorable blood sugar and lipid levels than if you had just eaten a big, heavy breakfast. For several days prior to the exam, eat lots of fiber and drink plenty of fluids to flush out your system.
  3. Treat high blood pressure. Stop by a drugstore and spend 50 cents to test your blood pressure on one of those automated machines. If it's high, go to a doctor and treat it immediately. Although you will have to disclose this on your application, you will still be better off with a lowered blood pressure rating. And to those who say "let your conscience be your guide" as to disclosing any medication taken, remember that material misrepresentation, or FRAUD, may come back and bite you weeks or years down the line when your "oversight" is discovered and your coverage is cancelled when you most need it.
  4. Lay down for your EKG. Many times an examiner for both life and health insurance exams will want to give you an EKG. In the event that they start to administer the test while you are sitting, ask if you can lay down for the test so you can fully relax. Many times this will have a favorable effect on your test results.
  5. Lay off the Pain medication. Many people are excessively free with over the counter headache and pain relievers such as Advil and Tylenol, to name two. All medications taken have an effect on your liver. A healthy person at a good weight with no health problems may still be declined for insurance due to elevated liver function levels.
  6. Watch what you eat. Who doesn't remember the episode from Seinfeld when Elaine fails her employer's drug testing and later finds out that it is all due to a poppy seed bagel eaten the day before. Believe it or not, poppy seeds can actually skew your results -- and not in a favorable way! Lay off the poppy seed bagels, cake etc. for at least a week before your exam.
  7. Clean up. Although rates are not determined simply by your appearance, it does you no harm to look clean and well groomed. Hopefully you will have been living a healthy lifestyle and monitoring your weight, blood pressure and other key factors. If not, remember that most of those illicit drugs, as well as alcohol, show up in urine (alcohol, up to 12 hours; pot, 30 days for chronic users; and everything else, four days).


  • Starving yourself for two days may not be the smartest way to lower your cholesterol. Try eating healthy, low-fat, low-cholesterol foods for two days instead. Remember, your brain needs glucose!

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Wikipedia article on "Health Insurance":

Article on "How Health Insurance Works" from "How Stuff Works":

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