If you’ve listened to Rajiv Nagaich for any length of time, you’ve heard him talk about the need for preventive health care. “Most insurance plants do a pretty good job of caring for you once you’re sick,” he often states, “but most of them do a terrible job of keeping you from getting sick in the first place.” Late last year, we found this article on the NextAvenue website that urges people, especially seniors, to get serious about preventing serious health concerns by staying up-to-date on recommended screening tests. As the article asserts, the time to see the doctor may be when you’re healthy, not just when you’re sick.
But are people heeding the advice of the experts? Too often the answer is no. For those serious about preventive care, we’re pleased to announce a new partnership with an innovative medical analysis firm called InsideTracker that will help friends of AgingOptions improve their bodies from the inside out, using personalized recommendations for nutrition, supplements, and lifestyle. Keep reading and we’ll tell you more.
Some Preventive Care is Covered by Insurance but Many Seniors Avoid Being Screened
“No one wants to opt into extra time at the doctor,” says the article. “But staying up-to-date on recommended screenings and tests is shown to keep more people healthy and independent.” Yet in spite of the fact that this type of preventive care is often covered by insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, a majority of Americans are not keeping current with essential medical recommendations, and as a result are putting their health at risk. According to this 18-page report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, despite getting regular check-ups, “fewer than half of adults age 65 years or older are up-to-date with core preventive services.”
The point of preventive health screening is pretty simple: through testing, you and your medical team can stop illness and disease from developing in the first place, or else you can discover illnesses in time to be treated before they become life-threatening. But the actual process of finding out what tests your health insurance will and won’t cover can be confusing, says NextAvenue, and so can deciding which screening tests are recommended for people in your age group, since those recommendations are often changing. “With more than 100 medical organizations issuing their own recommendations — potentially with their own conflicts of interest — preventive care can appear burdensome and confusing,” the article states. How is the average person supposed to break through the clutter of conflicting recommendations?
Task Force Helps Make Preventive Care Recommendations Clearer, Simpler
To help answer that question, back in 1984 the federal government created the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, under the Department of Health and Human Services. The USPSTF is made up of primary care physicians, all volunteers, who (in the words of NextAvenue) “have undergone a rigorous ethical review for conflicts of interest and who review the evidence to make preventive care recommendations.” In other words, these medical professionals are supposed to be as objective as possible in their deliberations. You’ll find a comprehensive listing of Task Force recommendations here.
By opening the USPSTF chart and selecting “Senior” in the Age Group box at the right, you’ll see a listing of all 45 possible tests and screens for older adults, from Abdominal Aortic Aneurism Screening to Weight Loss. Clicking each entry shows whether that particular test is recommended and, if so, for whom. “Some recommendations are only for people in the general population with certain risk factors or conditions,” says the NextAvenue article; “others apply to everyone in a certain age group.”
Preventive Care Chart Recommends Some Types of Screening but Not Others
“The only cancer screening recommended for everyone of a certain age is colorectal cancer screening for those aged 50 to 75,” says the article. “The Task Force also recommends annual screening for high blood pressure in all adults and high-cholesterol screening in everyone aged 40 to 75.” Other common screening tests include exams for breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis. (While the Task Force chart doesn’t cover immunizations, most doctors recommend annual high-dosage flu shots and an up-to-date regimen of pneumonia vaccinations for their senior patients.)
But some screening tests are not recommended by the Task Force: for example, testing for pancreatic cancer receives a letter grade of D on the USPSTF chart and is not recommended for adults with no symptoms. A similar letter grade of D is given for certain types of prostate cancer screening for men 70 and older, because the risk of false positive outcomes is disproportionately high.
“The Task Force recommends screening only when there’s evidence it saves lives,” says NextAvenue. “Sometimes that decision is recommending against screening, either because it will cause more harm than good or because it offers no benefit.” In some cases, the Task Force assigns the letter grade “I” because results are inconclusive and no definitive, objective recommendation is possible.
InsideTracker Offers Preventive Care with a Personalized Difference
While we at AgingOptions don’t necessarily quarrel with traditional preventive medicine, we do reject the idea that good health is about nothing more than testing and screening for disease. Wouldn’t it be better if, instead of relying on cookie-cutter “one-size-sits-all” health recommendations, you could have your own personalized recommendations for nutrition, supplements, and lifestyle? And what if these recommendations – derived from a medical analysis of your unique DNA and blood chemistry – were available at an affordable price?
AgingOptions can now offer this important service to our radio listeners and blog readers thanks to a just-announced partnership with a highly innovative and well-established company called InsideTracker. We urge those looking for an approach to “good health” that’s truly holistic to visit the InsideTracker website and check it out for yourself. As a service to friends of AgingOptions, we’re pleased to be able to offer an across-the-board 20 percent discount of InsideTracker’s already highly affordable array of personalized services. Just use the promo code “AgingOptions” when you order.
Announcing Seminars with a Choice: In-Person Events Return, Webinars Also Available
For several months our popular LifePlanning Seminars with Rajiv Nagaich have been offered online only. But now as COVID-19 restrictions are starting to be eased, we AgingOptions are excited to announce a new series of in-person seminars coming soon. For now Rajiv will only be offering in-person events in communities where gatherings are permitted under the governor’s phased reopening plan. Of course, these events will be conducted in a way that’s consistent with all health guidelines.
Our chief desire is to help you prepare for the kind of retirement you’ve always dreamed of having. LifePlanning is a powerful process that combines financial planning with a housing strategy, a medical plan, a legal foundation plus a plan to involve your loved ones in all aspects of the choices you make as you age. With finances, housing, medical, legal and family all working together, you have a fully integrated LifePlan.
Because of health safeguards, enrollment at our upcoming in-person seminars will be strictly limited. We urge you to visit our Events Page and register now for the LifePlanning Seminar that works for you. Also, as we said above, Rajiv continues to offer his free LifePlanning Seminars in the form of webinars that you can watch conveniently at home. You’ll find a calendar and other important links here on our AgingOptions website.
Reliable information has never been more important – online or in person! That’s our promise to you at AgingOptions. Age on!
(originally reported at www.nextavenue.org)