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No, I’m not getting into pet insurance, but I would like to talk about the lack of curiosity people have about their own health.

From the simplest of things Americans start out with failing grades, possibly because it’s not taught in schools or possibly because we choose to follow our parent’s examples. How about this question? When was your last annual checkup? It’s a trick question, so take your time. Remember that your last annual checkup means there had to be one the year before.

Unless you’re in the military I doubt if there are many out there below age 50 that had a last annual checkup, if they’ve ever had a checkup at all. So how about a full physical including lab work? I know you feel fine but people can feel fine and have a boat load of cholesterol or triglycerides. You can feel fine in the early stages of diabetes. Heck, I know people that felt fine right before they had a heart attack. And I know it costs money, but finding something out early costs a lot less than finding out a little on the late side.

I talked to a client of mine the other day who had a 3 vessel bypass surgery about 5 years ago. He wanted to look at replacing a term insurance policy that is coming down to the last couple of years of guaranteed premiums. I asked when his last cardiac workup was, specifically when the last time he had a stress test would have been. He said he was pretty sure that there had been anything but run of the mill ekg’s since they had done that procedure. I explained that from a life insurance underwriting standpoint a stress test provided a wealth of information, probably the most important being how that tune up was holding up and how his heart was working. More substantive and meaningful information comes from say, a stress echocardiogram versus and resting ekg.

He said he had never really given followup any thought. He figured it was fixed and that was good enough for him. It just so happened that the day after I talked to him former President Clinton had to have a procedure to put a stent in a clogged artery several years after he had had bypass surgery by the arguably the best doctors in the country.

Bottom line. Life insurance underwriters are curious. They want to know how things have held up, or changed since that bypass. They want to know that, even though your cholesterol is better than it was, no new arteries are clogging. They want to know how your heart works under stress. They like to know that you are curious enough to have that stuff checked out.