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January 12, 2018

Here’s why you should get a cholesterol screening ASAP

Heart Health Cholesterol

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One of the best things you can do to ensure a healthy heart is to get a screening to measure your cholesterol levels. This seems simple enough, but if you’re anything like me, you always seem to find a reason to put it off.

Perhaps your excuses sound something like mine: “ I’m pretty healthy, so I probably don’t have high cholesterol. I can’t go that long without eating. I have too much laundry to do.”

The laundry pile will always be there, so I talked with Dr. Ellen Riccobene, IBX Medical Director and board-certified internist, who gave me three tough-to-argue-with reasons why I should receive a cholesterol screening:

1. A cholesterol screening could save your life

High cholesterol usually doesn’t have symptoms, and it can also run in your family. You may eat right and exercise often, but you can still have high cholesterol and not even know it. With a simple cholesterol screening, your doctor can learn valuable information about your heart health and your risks for heart disease. From there, your doctor can help you understand how to treat high cholesterol and prevent future heart health issues.

2. Cholesterol screenings are quick and easy

Set up a well visit with your primary care physician (PCP) or family doctor and ask for a cholesterol screening. Your doctor will write you a script and send you to a designated lab in network (for IBX members, it’s typically LabCorp). You’ll need to fast the night before, but the test itself is just a quick blood draw, and you can schedule it first thing in the morning. Results typically take only a couple days to come in, and you can follow up with your doctor to discuss the results.

3. It may be covered 100 percent by your health insurance

Well visits and cholesterol screenings are considered preventive services. Many plans cover preventive care 100 percent, meaning you don’t have to pay any out-of-pocket costs like copays, deductibles, or coinsurance. IBX members: Check out our list of preventive care services and log into to view your benefits summary and see how your plan covers preventive care.

A cholesterol screening could very well be a lifesaver. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, and people with high total cholesterol are twice as likely to get heart disease.

Learn more about other health numbers you need to know and talk to your doctor about screenings.

Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. If you have, or suspect that you have, a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.

About Dr. Ellen Riccobene

Dr. Ellen Riccobene, a board-certified internist, is the IBX Medicare STARs clinical team medical director. Dr. Riccobene also serves as the medical director liaison for IBX local and national customers and conducts company medical utilization reviews. She graduated from Tulane University, summa cum laude, and received her medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine. She completed her residency in internal medicine at Georgetown University Hospital. Before joining Independence Blue Cross in 2008, Dr. Riccobene worked at hospitals in Washington, D.C., New Jersey, and in Philadelphia, and served as an internal medicine residency director.

This article was originally published on IBX Insights.

About Susan Rossman

Does writing count as exercise? Then my fingers are in great shape! As a senior copywriter at IBX, I've learned a lot about how health insurance works and how it can help me stay healthy. My goal is to share this knowledge with others in a fun and engaging way.