My Insurance Exam

Everything I’m reporting below is true, with no embellishment.

I was asked to take a physical exam to renew my major life insurance coverage. I showed up at a place in Warwick, RI.

A very nice woman was assigned to work with me. She had very long nails (How would she do the blood test?) and quite a bit of makeup. She spoke English and Spanish fluently.

She told me there were a lot of questions, and proceeded to read through the insurance company forms as if she had never seen them before. We handled all the questions, but I couldn’t remember a medication I was taking. She got out a chart of medications—and it wasn’t listed. “You can call me with it later, I’ll give you my number,” she said.

She then said, “They want to see how long it takes you to walk eight feet.” An odd request, I thought, but the office was at least 15 feet. However, she said, “We’d better to into the hall.” She had no ruler, yardstick, or measuring tape, and said, “Start at the plant over there,” and then walked at least 25 feet away.

“Eight feet is less than three yards,” I pointed out, and she said, “Oh, right.” She followed my indication of eight feet. “Should I walk or run?” I asked. “I guess walk,” she said, so I did. “Wait,” she said, and she waited for her watch’s second hand to get to 12. I finished, I think, in five seconds.

Back in the office, she said, “They want to see how long it takes for you to stand up and sit back down six times.” “No kidding?” I said. She continued to scrutinize the sheet as though it were in Arabic. This time I waited for her second hand to reach high noon, and began. Another five seconds.

Then, reading upside down, I noticed that she indicated I had used the chair or desk for support. “I didn’t use any support,” I said, “my hands were at my sides.” “Oh, well I guess I was confused because the chair is up against the desk.” She reversed her answer.

I noticed that she sometimes wrote in Spanish. For example, she listed the date as “agosto.”

She told me she had to take my blood pressure three times. She took it once on my left arm, once on my right. Then she weighed me, fully clothed, with my shoes on. “Is that your normal weight?” she asked. “You mean fully clothed? I don’t know, I never weigh myself fully clothed.” “We’ll say it is,” she determined.

Then she took blood. She said I had nice veins, and put that elastic strap on to search a bit, then took it off. She took two vials after reapplying the elastic, and it was painless. However, my wife asked me what happened to me at dinner. I had FOUR purple marks on my arm—she must have been experimenting.

She then asked me to go into the next room for an EKG. “Wait,” I said, “what about the third blood pressure test?” “Oh, right,” she said, “good thing you remembered.” We completed that.

She put tapes all over me for the EKG, and part way through the machine ran out of paper. Apparently there’s no warning or she didn’t check. She had to hunt for more paper. Then, she couldn’t get it seated in the machine. Finally, I looked up and saw her with a letter opener forcing the paper in. The machine finally beeped, and we started all over again. After she unhooked all the wires, I noticed that she never removed the tape, and I found some of it still on me later that night

She told me I was done, and could go once I signed the EKG. I said, “What about your number for that medication name you needed?” “Oh, right,” she said, “good thing you remembered.”

Folks, every word of that is accurate and true. THIS is the basis for some nameless, solitary, actuarial bureaucrat in an insurance firm deciding whether or not to insure me (or you) and at what rating. Please don’t tell me about artificial intelligence. We don’t have enough human intelligence to go around.

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