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Mapping cholesterol trends for life insurance applicants


High total cholesterol doubles the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. By narrowing the arteries and reducing the flow of oxygen-rich blood, high cholesterol can also lead to strokes. The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that almost 2 in 5 adults (or approximately 40%) in the United States have high cholesterol (total blood cholesterol greater than 200 mg/dL).

Because high cholesterol itself has no signs or symptoms, many people don’t know that they might be at risk. Laboratory results from a paramedical exam can help bring awareness of heart health issues to both insurers and consumers.

Cholesterol trends among life insurance applicants

In a recent analysis, ExamOne discovered that life insurance applicants’ trends mirrored national trends with 38% of all ExamOne life insurance applicants in 2023 had high total cholesterol (greater than 200 mg/dL), up from 32% in 2020.

The rate of very high total cholesterol (greater than 240 mg/dL) among applicants varied significantly by state, Puerto Rico was lowest at 8%, while New Hampshire was highest at 13.5%.

High cholesterol is often associated with men more than women, however when comparing female and male rates, female applicants having very high total cholesterol (greater than 240 mg/dL) was 11.5%, compared with 10.5% of male applicants.

Incorporating a health exam into the life insurance application process helps insurers identify unknown or undiagnosed conditions in applicants. And the best tool for measuring cholesterol is a blood test with a lipoprotein profile.

ExamOne analyzed 2023 data to determine the average rate of very high total cholesterol (greater than 240 mg/dL) among life insurance applicants by state.

More ways to assess applicants’ heart health

In addition to current laboratory results, insurers can gather additional insights into the heart health of their applicants by acquiring historical laboratory results from LabPiQture™ and monitor heat related medications such as cholesterol-lowering statins from prescription history found in ScriptCheck®. The more health data an insurer obtains on a life insurance applicant the more effective they can assess their risk and underwrite accordingly.*

Insurers can support applicant health awareness by offering laboratory results to the applicant as part of the application process, such as ExamOne’s Inside Look® online laboratory results. Helping applicants identify risk factors they may not be aware of can help encourage conversations with their physician on ways to manage their risk and improve their health.

Insights and awareness for consumers

Insurers can support applicant health awareness by offering laboratory results to the applicant as part of the application process, such as ExamOne’s Inside Look® online laboratory results. Helping applicants identify risk factors they may not be aware of can help encourage conversations with their physician on ways to manage their risk and improve their health.

ExamOne is here to support your underwriting laboratory and data needs. Contact your ExamOne representative to find out more.

*ExamOne requires prior written consent from insurance applicants, which appears in the HIPAA compliant authorization that is part of the insurance application. The authorization must be signed and dated prior to accessing the information.


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