16 November 2012 0 Comments

Cholesterol — How It Affects Life Insurance Premiums

High cholesterol can lead to the buildup of fatty tissue in the walls of arteries and ultimately lead to coronary disease or stroke.  Cholesterol is divided into two categories: LDL, often referred to as the “bad cholesterol” and HDL, often referred to as the “good cholesterol.”  Insurance companies will be interested in both the Total cholesterol and the ratio of the bad cholesterol (LDL) to the good cholesterol (HDL).  The lower this ratio, the better, since it indicates there is more good cholesterol to offset the adverse effects of bad cholesterol.

High levels of total cholesterol and ratios in young people are of more concern than those in later years—60+.  Cholesterol is often controlled by diet and exercise, but medicine is also used—very often lipids.  Consumption of alcohol, particularly red wine, can increase the amount of good cholesterol improving the ratio.  But, if there is a history of alcohol abuse this could be a double edged sword.

More insurance companies are willing to consider their Best Preferred class for people on Cholesterol medication (15 of 22 companies reviewed) as opposed to those willing to consider this class for those taking Blood Pressure Meds (5 of 22 companies reviewed).

Family history is a very important consideration for people with elevated cholesterol levels; the underwriter will be much more concerned if there has been a family history of early death from coronary disease or stroke.  Companies are all over the place with regard to what is acceptable.  One company won’t consider offering their Preferred Best rates if the total cholesterol exceeds 220.  Another company would consider their very best preferred rates for those with total cholesterol of 300, as long as the ratio described above does not exceed 4.5.

If you have elevated cholesterol to avoid hop-scotching from one insurance company to the other trying to find the best premiums, before proceeding with a formal application let your agent know what medications you take, your most recent Total Cholesterol and Ratios and information on your family history.  The simplest way to get much of this data is to ask your doctor to send you a copy of the last blood lab results and then send a copy of that to your agent.  If you have a knowledgeable agent they should be able to direct you to the best company.

In my continuing review of the impact of medical history on life insurance premiums, I’ll be discussing the big C…Cancer.

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