Oral swab can tell life insurance companies about health

May 11, 2012

An oral swab can tell insurance companies a lot about people.

Many life insurance companies will have a potential policyholder take a physical to determine his or her health standing, before selling them a policy at a certain rate. Now, some companies are using oral swabs to determine a person's health.

"It doesn't hurt at all, and it literally takes five seconds," says Dr. Jim Palmier, medical director of ExamOne, a Quest Diagnostics company, Insure.com reported. Even though the procedure is quick and simple, the oral swab can tell insurance companies if someone smokes, if they do drugs or have a disease that may affect what kind of insurance they would be able to get.

Kim Anderson, senior vice president of the Insurance Services Division at EMSI, said swab tests became popular 20 years ago and offer advantages over blood and urine tests. She said the tests are less invasive and less costly, and are all around easier to perform.

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