The older-age market is growing by leaps and bounds as boomers become “gomers.” (“Gomer” is medical slang for “get out of my emergency room”–an expression reflecting the rising incidence of medical complaints by people over age 65.)
Medical screening for life insurance needs to keep pace here by adopting prudent changes to accommodate this insurance-conscious population.
The specialized paramedical, focused on frailty and cognitive issues, is one essential development as underwriting comes to see how these 2 medical factors help pinpoint the most vulnerable elders. Functional testing, along the lines used for years in long term care insurance, is now a major element when screening these over-age-65 applicants for life coverage.
BMI (body mass index) measurements in the “obesity” range (30-35+) are not reflective of the real mortality risk over age 65, especially in females.
Rather than take overly-conservative action on some of these cases, insurers are pressing their examiners to perform waist circumference measurements. This simple step is necessary because excess weight carried in the hips and thighs does not have the mortality implications associated with abdominal obesity.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is the only FDA-approved screening tumor marker (and, one hastens to add, the only routine tumor-related test appropriate in underwriting).
PSA readings in the “gray zone,” between 4 and 10 nanograms, are prevalent in geriatric males. Proactive insurers use a supplement test, known as free-PSA, to pinpoint those individuals with modest PSA elevations who are at greater risk for harboring unsuspected prostate cancer.