Shopping for a health insurance quote can be a daunting task if you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol. Many people feel as though affordable insurance with high cholesterol is out of reach. However, while high cholesterol can certainly impact your rates and eligibility, it does not automatically mean outrageous premiums. There are steps you can take to improve your chances and get quality, affordable health insurance even with high cholesterol.
Aside from living a healthy lifestyle, the best thing anyone can do to improve their chances is to be prepared. Knowledge and information will be your best tools as you prepare to shop through healthcare companies with your condition. Insurance is all about determining risk, and you will need to provide certain information to insurance providers, even if the information does not seem to be necessarily advantageous.
Healthcare providers need to determine what conditions you currently have and what medications you currently take, in part to know what they will be paying for when you sign up. It also helps them get a clearer picture of what your health is likely to be like in the future. This article is designed to help you understand what insurance companies look for and what you can do to improve your chances of getting affordable insurance with cholesterol problems.
Understanding High Cholesterol
While high cholesterol itself often has no noticeable symptoms, having high cholesterol leads to heart disease which is the leading cause of death in the United States. Unhealthy levels can lead to atherosclerosis, stroke, heart attacks and other major problems, but your body actually needs a certain level of cholesterol to function properly.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the fats (lipids) in your blood. When you have high cholesterol, this fat can start to build up in the walls of your arteries that carry blood throughout the body. This buildup can cause the arteries to harden and stiffen or cause the arteries to narrow, making it harder for blood to flow through them. This is often the starting point for many heart and blood flow problems and can eventually lead to very serious health problems.
However, not all cholesterol is bad. These lipids in your blood perform crucial functions, and some of the cholesterol attached to them is good to have in high levels. There are two important types of cholesterol:
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): Commonly referred to as the “bad” cholesterol, LDL causes plaque buildup in the arteries and raises the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL): The “good” cholesterol, HDL absorbs cholesterol and carries it back through the liver, where it is flushed from the body. High levels of HDL lowers your risk of heart disease and other issues.
When your doctor does blood work, he or she will check the levels of LDL, HDL, triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood that your body uses for energy), and total cholesterol. A few things that can affect your cholesterol levels include:
- The foods you eat; eating too much saturated or trans fats will raise your cholesterol
- Weight; being overweight can lower your HDL (good cholesterol) levels
- Lack of activity or exercise; this can also lower HDL
- Age; cholesterol starts to rise around age 20
- Family history; genetics play a large role in cholesterol levels, and high cholesterol could be inherited.
Health Insurance and Cholesterol
Your cholesterol levels may be important to healthcare providers because they can play a large role in your overall health. You may have to take an exam as part of the process, but at the very least, insurance providers will need to view your medical history and any current medications.
The best thing you can do to improve your eligibility and reduce the premiums is to live a healthy lifestyle. If you smoke, drink to excess, eat an unhealthy diet and do not exercise regularly, this will all negatively impact your chances at affordable insurance. However, if you are able to show you have your condition under control and are healthy aside from the cholesterol problems, you may be able to qualify for the same premiums as someone without high cholesterol.