NU Online News Service, March 28, 2005, 2:30 p.m. EST

Two service providers to the long term care insurance industry say they have developed a technology that can give early warning of failing cognitive abilities in LTC insurance applicants.[@@]

LifePlans Inc., Waltham, Mass., has joined with Medical Care Corp., Irvine, Calif., to develop and market the new technology, the enhanced mental skills test. The EMST screens individuals for early memory loss and seeks to differentiate treatable impairments from degenerative disorders such as early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, according to Medical Care.

The companies say they developed the technology in response to growing industry concerns about dementia claims. The test could be used by LTC insurers as part of their screening procedures when underwriting policies.

Life Plans provides long term care risk management services to carriers, and Medical Care provides technologies that help collect and analyze patient care data.

The companies announced the results of a validation study of the EMST technology recently conducted by contracted registered nurses over 6 months among more than 800 applicants for LTC insurance.

The study showed that the EMST “is perfectly suited to discriminate mild cognitive impairment from normal aging, which solves a major problem for the industry and presents new opportunities for organizations working with or managing adult populations,” says Marc Cohen, president of Life Plans.