The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has turned to 2 private firms to look for ways to improve older Americans’ health.

LifePlans Inc., Waltham, Mass., and Bankers Life and Casualty Company, Chicago, a unit of Conseco Inc., Carmel, Ind., will be conducting a study on ways to help keep older people from falling.

The study will start in February and last at least 2 years, Bankers Life says.

The study will give Bankers Life long term care insurance policyholders the option of participating in a program that will evaluate the policyholders for risk of falling. Program staffers will work with the policyholders’ physicians to reduce the level of risk.