Why You May Need to Get A Complete Blood Count to Get Life Insurance

by Jeff Rose on April 15, 2014 · 0 comments

When you apply for life insurance, the insurance company might request a number of different tests to check your health. One commonly ordered test is the Complete Blood Count (CBC).Complete Blood Count

This test looks at the three major cell lines in your blood (red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets) to see if you have any undetected illnesses or problems.

To get a better idea how this test works and how it might impact your insurability, be sure to review our complete guide to the CBC.

When Would You Need a Complete Blood Count?

Your doctor might order a CBC for you as part of a regular checkup, even if you’re healthy. This test looks at many different factors and can detect problems early before they’ve started showing other symptoms.

If you’ve ever had a complete blood count, the results will show up in your medical history, which a life insurance company will review when you apply for coverage.

Typically, life insurance companies don’t request a CBC as part of a regular application. If there are old results on your medical records, they’ll review them but if you are relatively healthy, you most likely won’t need to take a new CBC.

However, if you’ve had a health problem in the past, the insurance company may request a new CBC to see how you’re doing. For example, it is common for applicants with a history of anemia to need to take a CBC before qualifying for coverage.

How Do You Take a Complete Blood Count?

A CBC goes beyond the regular blood test that is part of most insurance applications. For a regular insurance application, you usually give your blood to a technician who transports your blood to a lab.

This doesn’t work for a CBC because the major cell lines can degrade during transportation. As a result, if you need to take a CBC for your application, you’ll need to go to your doctor or a lab directly and have your blood drawn there for testing.

Red Blood Cell Tests

Part of the CBC is to look at your red blood cells. These cells carry oxygen through your blood. When the CBC measures your red blood cells, it will look at your iron levels. If your iron levels are too low, you are considered anemic while if your levels are too high, you have a condition known as polycythemia.

The CBC also looks at the volume of red blood cells in your blood, known as your Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV). If this volume is too high, it could be a sign of a B12 deficiency, drug use, alcohol abuse, or bone marrow disease. On the other hand, if this level is too low, you could be suffering from an iron deficiency or lead toxicity.

White Blood Cell Tests

The CBC also looks at your white blood cells, the cells which fight infection. Like your red blood cells, there is a normal range for your white blood cell count. If your count is too high or too low, it could be a sign of serious health problems.

A low white blood cell count could be a sign of infection, leukemia, stress, steroid use, parasites, allergies, and several other disorders. A high white blood cell count could be a sign of bone marrow disease, a viral infection, malnutrition, and other problems.

Platelet Tests

Finally, the CBC looks at your platelet levels, the cells which cause clotting in your blood. A low platelet count can be a sign of stress, bone marrow diseases, and abnormal spleen function. A high platelet count can be a sign of a viral infection, an under-functioning spleen, bone marrow disease, and other diseases.

Impact on Insurability

Since a CBC covers so many different conditions, there is no set guideline for how an abnormal CBC rating would impact your insurance rating. It really depends on the underlying problem that is causing your major blood lines to be out of the normal ranges and how each individual life insurance company views that problem.  No matter what the problem there will be one or a handful of best companies for life insurance coverage on that condition.

If you know what condition you have, you can review our life insurance guide for that condition because it will give you a more specific idea of what insurance rating you can expect when you apply.

Why You May Need to Get A Complete Blood Count to Get Life Insurance
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Why You May Need to Get A Complete Blood Count to Get Life Insurance
Do you need a complete blood count to get life insurance? Why? Can you bypass this test and proceed in getting a life policy?

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