While not a disease per se, high cholesterol is thought to contribute to the type of life-threatening conditions that life insurance companies like to avoid. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 71 million adult Americans have elevated cholesterol levels, raising their risk of heart disease.
"The concern with high cholesterol is that it is a risk factor for the development of a lot of vascular conditions, including coronary artery disease, stroke and other atherosclerotic kinds of disease," says Goldstein.
Life insurance underwriters tend to treat high cholesterol as they might high blood pressure.
"High cholesterol, if it is managed, it's going to be offered preferred," says Goldstein. "To the extent that it is well-managed and well-controlled, it can be very favorably underwritten."