Family physician, author, blogger, speaker, physician leader.

Is HealthFair or Life Line Screening Worth the Money?

Is HealthFair or Life Line Screening worth your money? Both groups offer similar screening packages. Using an ultrasound machine, they scan the public for peripheral vascular disease, heart disease, carotid artery disease, and aortic aneurysms. For more advanced packages, HealthFair will also do blood work which can include testosterone, high sensitivity c-reactive protein, PSA (prostate specific antigen), and TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone).

Is it worth it? Medically speaking, no.

If you have no symptoms of leg pain with walking, shortness of breath, or symptoms of a stroke or mini-stroke, then the chance you will find something medically important is low. Except for aortic aneurysm screening, which should occur in men between age 65 to 75 who have ever smoked 10 packs or more of cigarettes, there continues to be NO evidence that ultrasound testing for these conditions actually results in better outcomes, particularly in patients who have NO symptoms.  Again for men between 65 to 75 years old who have ever smoked 10 packs or more of cigarettes, you should have an ultrasound for aortic aneurysm screening. That is covered by insurance so why pay out of pocket?

For peripheral vascular disease screening, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) in September 2013 made a recommendation I. This means insufficient evidence to determine the risk or benefit of screening. The technique used is called the ankle-brachial index (ABI). It is using ultrasound to determine if there is a difference in blood flow from the arms (brachial) and the legs (ankle). This is what the USPSTF reviewed and what HealthFair and Life Line use in their testing. Again, for patients who do not have leg or foot pain with activity, lack of pulses on the top of the foot, history of smoking or other circulation problems like heart disease, stroke, these this particular test has no evidence that it is helpful.

For heart disease screening, USPSTF noted recommendation I in October 2009 when using non-traditional risk factors. This includes ABI as listed above, as well as high sensitivity c-reactive protein.

For carotid artery disease, the USPSTF recommends against any screening in July 2014 as a  recommendation D. This means harms from screening, even though a painless ultrasound, is outweighed by future testing.

So medically speaking there is no evidence these save lives.

Yet from a marketing point of view, this offer is tempting. They offer a “great” deal. An all in one package. A “good” price for peace of mind.

These tests are a way for hospitals to improve their “brand” and name recognition in the community.

A 2013 Washington Post / Kaiser Health News report noted that:

“Inova Health System, one of the Washington, D.C., region’s largest hospital networks, is partnering with a screening company called HealthFair to blanket the region with direct mail and advertisements promoting a $139 package of what it describes as “five life-saving tests for heart disease and stroke.”  The tests, which usually are not covered by insurance, are performed in specially equipped buses, operated by HealthFair, that carry the Inova logo and travel to different locations…

Inova doesn’t pocket anything from the testing; in fact, it pays HealthFair to put the Inova logo on the buses. But patients can sign a form allowing someone from the hospital group to contact them to discuss abnormal findings, and a list of Inova doctors is available on the buses.

“It’s a way to promote brand awareness and have someone sitting there who can say, ‘I have just the doctor for you,’ ” said Mitch Morris, of Deloitte, a consulting firm whose clients include hospitals. “If they hook someone up with a primary care physician, that sets up in many cases a lifetime of patronage to that health system.”

In 2014, USA Today published article noted:

A consumer group called on hospitals across the USA to stop “fear mongering” by marketing health screenings directly to patients. Public Citizen says the low-cost tests — advertised for what appear to be “bargain basement” prices — often lead to expensive and even risky follow-up exams…

HealthFair advertises a $179 basic package of four cardiovascular tests — including echocardiograms and carotid artery ultrasounds — which it says are “valued at $2,300.” Patients with suspicious results could end up receiving follow-up tests that cost 10 to 100 times that much, says Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.

“That $179 may seem like a bargain, but zero dollars would be the real bargain,” Carome says. “You don’t need to spend any money on these tests unless you fit into a very narrow population, and no one needs to be screened with six at once.”

Bottom line. If you aren’t sure if you need any of these tests, check with your doctor.

If you are concerned about your risk for peripheral vascular disease, heart disease, carotid artery disease, or aortic aneurysm, make an appointment and discuss with her your concerns. Traditional risk factors include already having one of the listed illnesses, being a smoker, or having diabetes.

As Dr. Steven Nissen, chief of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic noted:

The only tests that an average person needs are simple and cheap, Nissen says. These include measuring their weight, waist circumference, blood pressure and cholesterol.

My final thoughts.

These types of screenings are simply a sign of the times.  You will be offered more screening tests, blood work, and options that are not recommended by your doctor but by others. These will be marketed like other goods and service we buy whether televisions or coffee. The only problem with these particular tests at this time is that there is no scientific proof or evidence that these save lives especially in patients who have no symptoms.


Do you worry about whether you are getting the best medical care? Does your doctor seem rushed? Not answering your questions?

Wouldn’t it be great if you had an easy way to get these answers?

99 thoughts on “Is HealthFair or Life Line Screening Worth the Money?”

  1. I’m one of those rare cases! I have a calcium score of 535. Besides talking to a doctor who told me to take a nuclear stress test again which I don’t want to (I was sick months afterwards), what can I do? Otherwise I feel great, cholesterol, everything is very good.

  2. I knew it was a waste of time and money (rip off) when I learned no insurance company will reimburse one penny for these “screenings”. If insurance companies felt these tests saved them any money in the long run they would be glad to pay up front. Scams are so prevalent now I don’t believe anything without concrete proof and I wouldn’t believe it WITH proof if it involves money !

  3. This is a total scam called to cancel my appointment and they will not credit my account back will only send gift certificate. I am usually good at reading reviews before I schedule anything but unfortunately I did not with this company. Hope this review saves other $$$

  4. I had life line screening in Feb. 2016. It found that I had
    a blockage of more than 70% in the right side of my neck. I was told to go see my doctor, who then sent me
    To a vascular aorta surgeon. He had more test on my
    Neck and found that my artery was close to 85%
    Blocked.So I had surgery in this April and he clean out my artery and now I am doing GREAT,

  5. They saved my aunt’s life by finding an issue that existed. She felt fine, but after their findings, went to her doctor and three stents were needed. Thanks to this screening, she never had the heart attack or stroke that was eminent.

  6. This article missed the whole point. All I want to know is if I have these problems. If not, good, to know that worth more than $139, If they found problems, that worth a lot more. Good to have all Normal results, just a peace of mind worth the money spend. To ask a Doctor to do these tests, first you have to pay doctor’s fee (in my case, at least $50 after insurance, if add deductible, it will be $150+, the test itself will be $70-$150 each after the insurance.) There is another problem, the doctor may not want to order these tests for you because he think you are in good health. I did ask my doctor and said I just want a peace of mind, he won’t do it, He said unless I have a problem, the insurance won’t pay for it. One time I had to lie to him said I have headache and feel dizzy to get the tests). I don’t care if these tests save life or not at end, I just want a peace of mind. $139 and 1 hour time is excellent price. Do you really want to wait 40 minutes in doctor’s office and wait more time in the testing centers (and pay more too) to find out if you have any of these problems ? Like I said, even you are in excellent health, a peace of mind worth the money.

    • As I said in the article – So medically speaking there is no evidence these save lives.

      Yet from a marketing point of view, this offer is tempting. They offer a “great” deal. An all in one package. A “good” price for piece of mind.

      Point of the article was there medical evidence that these tests offered saved lives for patients who have no symptoms?
      Certainly you and anyone else is welcome to spend money for piece of mind.

      • I think for the people commenting on here that these tests did find something is totally contradicting your statement. A lot of doctors don’t want people having these tests because they are so cheap, I know how it works. Depending on what insurance the patient has depends on what tests and how many can be ordered and in what sequence. So in turn the doctor does not get their co-payments and gets to bill the insurance for each and every visit Please tell me why I had a simple EKG and they charged my insurance more for that then having this entire package of tests done? Folks these tests are well worth the out of pocket cost and don’t let anyone tell you they are not!

        • I agree with Angie that the tests are well worth the money. I get these tests done every 2-3 years and Life Line Screening is very accurate and professional and is performed by RN’s and Nurse Practitioners and then reviewed by MD’s. Peace of mind! Why wait until you get severe and painful symptoms before seeking help and by that time an illness can escalate to a stage 4 condition and then you are in hot water! Nip it in the bud ! I had the screening done today in Ballwin, MO.

          • I’d also be afraid of having pancreatic cancer, brain cancer, ovarian cancer, lymphoma, bone cancer, lung cancer, bladder cancer, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s. The list could take a few pages.
            If you want real peace of mind, every one of them should be sought out with a test.

        • Angie, you are so correct. It is a form of preventive care and the reason these doctors don’t like these kind of companies is because they don’t want people to know that they are cutting out all of the red tape that you have to go through in the doctor’s office. I worked in dialysis for over 25 years and many patients suffered because they didn’t have medical knowledge about their care. The patients can save alot of money and yes doctors get consultation fees for just talking to the patient and that fee alone can be $100 to $250 dollars depending on the specialist. This is definitely worth the money. Good Luck and keep pushing positive emotions.

      • Treating symptoms is a slippery slope. That’s what your “evidence” references. You can’t prove nor disprove the preventive measures these screenings can provide if in the right hands. Society has gotten used to using the term “cure” for treating symptoms and not the root cause.

      • So, Dr. Lui – what about the person who said their screening showed a blockage on the right side of the neck (Doris Sheffield above). It sounds as if the screening did benefit her? Any comment on that situation?

        • I have comment – My husband came back as mild and normal on all his tests thru life line. One month later he was in for triple bypass surgery. Their test gave him a false sense of security.

          • It doesnt test for plaque in the arteries of the heart just the carotid. My neighbor was having chest pains and shortness of breath. Went to his cardiologist have several test including a stress test and 24 hr heart monitoring
            They told him everything was fine. He went back and told the Dr. That he felt there was something wrong. They did catherization and found 4 blocked arteries. A couple almost 100percent. Not every test if going to catch everything!

      • I had this screening in 2014, I took the results to my cardiologist and he was very impressed with the data the report contained. Although it did not detect anything earth shattering, I found I had a minimal thickening and plaque in my carotid artery with accompanying data on my PSV and EDV. That my ABI and Arterial Stiffness Index is normal, is normal, that my HDL is moderate but my LDL is optimal and my triglycerides were borderline high, and my blood pressure is high. It also explained my risk of stroke and heart disease. All this data was very valuable to my cardiologist and my family doctor and helped them in their assessment of my heart health. I will be scheduling another screening as it has been awhile and I have since lost weight and brought my HDL down to an excellent level and my blood pressure has dropped so I am off lisinopril. I think I am now in healthy ranges, but I want to verify my current health with accurate data.

        • What?? Go check your blood pressure for free. NONE of those screenings will change after a short period of time. (It takes years) and 1 of those screening actually caused a stroke in a small number of patients, which is why they HIGHLY recommend you don’t do it unless your Dr says too

          • How much do these tests cost, and how long do they take. I live in Worcestershire . UK.

        • Your cholesterol is checked as part of your yearly checkup with your personal physician. Your doctor will also check additional things like your sugar level and other problems that this this group does not check. You are better off saving your money and do the tests that your physician recommends such as a stress test. I can’t see any reason why you would go here.since it is so limited and as Dr. Liu has already stated will not help you.

          • Doctors have refused to do some tests I have requested (C-Reactive Protein for one, which detects inflammation) because I don’t have any symptoms. You have to wait to have symptoms or real problems before some doctors will give an order for tests that Life Line Screening does for $139 or whatever it is now. Why wait? Find out SOMETHING now, inexpensively. Then go to the doctor if the results show a possible problem that needs to be dealt with.

          • Why you asking your doctors for such a simple test as C reactive protein? if you can go to any of Quest Diagnostics or Lab Corp and buy it yourself for 70-90$?

      • I have a simple yes or no question. Have these screening every detected a serious issue that was previously undetected?

      • Partially blocked arteries and stents are placed to keep them open. Ultrasound can spot thickening of the wall indicating a blockage is likely

  7. This test saved my life. I had this test done 4 years ago; everything normal. March 1, 2017 done again. They found an abdominal aortic aneurysm >6cm and advised me to see an expert doctor within 24 hrs. I went to a vascular surgeon the next day, who advised me after a catscan to have endovascular surgery a.s.a.p. I am male 65 and a non smoker and had no synptoms. The next day I had the surgery and could go home the day after. $99 well spent!

  8. I had the Lifeline test performed in 2013. the test results for the carotid artery came back as 92 percent blocked and recommended a doctor visit. Went to a Cardiologist the next week and he said “they always make mistakes. We will do the test. He came back after the test with a frown on and said they were wrong it’s 94 percent blocked. He said it needed to be addressed soon. I said ok and he turned around and called a surgeon himself. The next day the surgeon said the same thing about testing and said he would verify. He walked back in and said they were right and it needed to be addressed. His secretary came in and said he was busy that afternoon but the next day was open. Had the surgery and all went well. So do I think the few dollars is worth it ? You bet I do and have recommended this to every person I talk to.

  9. I had the “special package” deal and it was very helpful. In my chest they found a turn signal stalk for a 1961 Buick Special. I have no idea how it got there. They also found 6 or 7 bullets from a 45. I do remember how they got there. I suppose for $150 it was a total waste of money.

  10. My extremely fit older brother had a heart attack two years ago when he was 62. I’m two years younger but not fit, overweight and an ex smoker. His event prompted me to get a Life Line Screening last year. I passed all the tests with flying colors. Last month I started to experience chest “flutters” and shortness of breath when I walked. Ended up having triple bypass heart surgery. My main artery was over 90% blocked! This did not show up at all on the Life Line tests and I had a false sense of security. Luckily, I was aware of the symptoms and acted on them, or I would have been a goner! So perhaps, LifeLine can detect some things, but in my case it was not able to detect the reason I went in the first place. Buyer beware!

    • Life Line screening conducts ultrasound screenings of the carotid artery (neck) which allows a “view” of that artery & potential blockages. They do not do screenings of the heart specifically – so, it is feasible that a result of “no blockage” in the neck could still have issues in/around the heart which could lead to bypass surgery.

  11. My Insurance deductible is $3,000.00. I live on a limited income and am too young for Medicare. To see my Primary Care Dr for the first time and get a referral to a cardiologist, including copay, would be over 260.00. The initial visit to a cardiologist, including copay, would be over 360.00. Nearly 700.00 and no testing has been done. I am high risk for cardiac disease via family HX both parents. Have recently developed non syncopal vertigo, irregular HR, HBP, SOB w act, etc. I think this is by far the least expensive way to be initially screened, provided the people who read the ultrasounds are qualified to do so. Many Americans find themselves in the same situation I am in. Must do the best you can w the resources you have.

  12. Thank you for your article. After reading it and the comments I believe it would be beneficial for me to have the screening. The medical community is money hungry and would require three visits per test. One to your dr. to refer you, one for the test and one for a follow up. Each with substantial fees. I will pay $150 for the five tests but will be wary if they recommend I see a particular Dr. I will go over the results with my Dr.

  13. I am one of the God only knows how many people there are, who don’t have insurance thanks to Obamacare…prior to that I had insurance all my life..I cannot afford it now. I have several concerns on y own that I remain silent about …this will give me a way to affordably find out if my personal concerns are correct

  14. I live in a rural area and healthcare is lacking. I’ll be going in for my second Life Line Screening in six years. I’m a healthy 52 year old female and I intend to keep it that way! My doctor refuses to schedule a bone density test because I’m not 65 and don’t have any of the risk factors. Insurance may be driving this decision. I can get a simple osteoporosis risk assessment through Life Line in addition to the other screenings and make life style changes NOW.

  15. I can not even afford $5 for Life line .I can not understand why medicare will not pay for this,The problem in this country is #1)doctors do not take time enough with patience and sometimes just do not care cause you are over 50 and that is said,people are living longer get over it,also it has to do with insurance companies a lot. they do not want to spend money on test but want to take your money. This country needs health insurance like they have in England at least for older people. Yes I think Life Line Screening is doing good but a person should not have to pay out this kind of money when they are on medicare ,just can not afford it. Their doctors should and medicare should not give them a hard time to people if they want these test to get a peace of mind also to feel better knowing their is nothing wrong,because a lot of time the older you get tit probably fine something before it gets life threatening and it will save lives.I feel what it comes down to is they just don’t want you to live longer

  16. This article misses the point of these screenings. If there is a problem that the screening finds we can then get our regular physician to pay attention and check it out. Maybe saving a life or serious complications of a heart attack etc.. If there is no problem found hallelujah that is even better. The medical profession should encourage more preventative screening for heart disease rather than wait until a life threatening event.

  17. I was just wanting to check if they really can tell from the test. I have no insurance and there is a history of all of the test in my family, except for the abdominal aneurysm, I am 52. I have lived only one month longer than my father who died of a brain aneurysm 30 years ago. His brother died a few short years later of a stroke. I want to know and this is more affordable than the hundreds of dollars. Uhm there are people out here without insurance or a lot of money. Needs moeny. So there is insufficient evidence on the test….what about all the test that regulars dr.s run insurance pays for that can’t be definitive findings or wrong? In a conundrum…

  18. This is a good package. In general, the medical profession is not interested and/or doesn’t have the time for disease prevention. Their idea of prevention is handing you a prescription for a statin. The money in medicine lies in crisis management and surgery. It’s really up to the individual to get healthy and remain healthy through diet, exercise and life habits. If you think you’ll live a long, healthy life just by seeing an M.D. once or twice a year, you are sadly mistaken.

  19. As a veterinarian, veterinary pathologist, and a scientist at a pharmaceutical company, I think what most physicians misunderstand about clinical trials is that these trials only describe the mean of the population tested. In other words, their recommendations apply to the “average” patient. There are plenty of drugs that work for individuals, but never get approved because we can’t predict for whom they will work. When we view ourselves as individuals, not herds of sheep or cattle, then our willingness to undergo testing for our own sake (not the sake of the herd), answers to a much different cost/benefit analysis. Big clinical trials aimed at directing healthcare for everyone is a little like a clothing manufacturer who makes pants that fit “most” people. Insurance companies have one purpose: to make money. Never deceive yourself that their purpose is to save patient lives.

  20. I’ve debated whether or not to have this screening. I believe it would be beneficial because scheduling an appointment and having these tests in the doctor’s would take more time and cost more because insurance doesn’t cover them. To me it’s worth the peace of mind.

  21. @Wayne
    Thank you for the insight regarding clinical trials and the one size fits most approach to them based on what best serves the “average.” IMO that is the reason people need to independently decide to do or not do these types of screenings which are conducted by for profit organizations. It is expensive and for sure there may be a bit of a scare tactic in the marketing.
    But that being said as I fall into a risk category being Type 1 diabetic for over 35 years and combined with my family history it is enough of a reason for me to pay $150 so I plan to sign up. However these tests are not “one size fits all” either so any follow up I might do will be with my own Endocrinologist who knows my full history.
    Bottom line- I don’t believe we should be made afraid to manage our own health in partnership with our own care teams. And for those without access to healthcare or health care coverage options at least it might serve as a preventive measure or a call out to take action that they might not otherwise get.

  22. I would like to clarify a few things. I am a medical assistant who worked for Healthfair. Had I not seen with my own two eyes the benefits of these tests and countless men and woman whom have had surgery due to abdominal anueruesms and blood clots in the femoral artery I would of been skeptical also. These types of test whether done by Health fair or Lifeline are for one reason and one reason only to SAVE YOUR LIFE. I’ve seen men who have not been to see a Doc in 10 yrs who had critical BP. Cholesterol through the roof and a BMI of 40 plus. Dr don’t have time to do all the test that are offered on the bus to patients in the office due to they see 80- 90 pts a day approx 14 mins with each pt. Insurance companies are being proactive instead of reactive now. They want what’s best for you as a policy holder. One more added thing Dr offices do not have the equipment these two companies have on site, so it would be up to you to make several appts have several co pays and not to mention the time out of your busy schedule to see all the Doctors for each seperate test. When you could just spend a hour and half on a bus filled with fun loving people with your interest at heart. Just food for thought thank you for reading.
    Best regards Bridget Gould St Albans

    • What I think patients and consumers are asking is whether spending this money is worth it.

      1) If there was scientific evidence and proof that these screenings saved lives, then insurance companies would cover these tests and medical guidelines like those from the USPSTF (United States Preventive Services Task Force) would recommend. Except for the case of AAA (abdominal aortic aneurysm) in men 65 and older who ever smoked, the remaining tests offered by Healthfair do not have scientic evidence or proof and no medical guidelines that recommend. I outlined these already in the blog post. Insurance companies will cover what medical guidelines recommend because if they didn’t, they would be at risk.

      2) Certainly you will find some cases of patients with disease. The question becomes if doctors would have found the same issue without using Healthfair and patients paying $179 out of their own pockets. From your comments ” I’ve seen men who have not been to see a Doc in 10 yrs who had critical BP.” – yes a kiosk at any drug store would have determined critical BP for free. Cholesterol through the roof and a BMI of 40 plus – Yes, one can order cholesterol test (as Dr. Nissen noted from the Cleveland Clinic) which if you see a doctor and get a lab order probably isn’t going to cost you what HealthFair charges. To calculate BMI (for free!) – one only needs your height and weight and use a calculator like this one. A BMI of 30 or greater is not healthy.

      3) Doctors might not offer these tests because of 1) – ie. there is no medical evidence! Also, I don’t know of any primary care doctors who see “80- 90 pts a day approx 14 mins with each pt” but if they did, they would be seeing patient for 20 hours a day (only can see 4 patients an hour if spending 14 minutes with each one).

      4) Doctors don’t have this equipment on site. This is true. Doctors don’t have MRI machines, CT scanners or mammograms generally in the office either. We send patients to these facilities to get testing done when medically needed. If there was a medical reason to order a test, of course, we order it. In the vast majority of patients who do not have symptoms of leg pain with walking, do not have absent foot pulses, and do not have any abnormal findings on examination with a doctor, except for the exception outlined above in 1), no doctor would order all of these tests because they are not medically necessary.

      Finally, I don’t have problem if people want to spend $179 to check out these potential problems. If people want to, they can. If spending the money and finding abnormalities scares people into healthier behaviors, then great. If you absolutely can’t sleep at night because you worry, by all means spend the money.

      I just worry people are only given one side of the story, (HealthFair’s) because no one explains the nuances which I’ve tried to outline in the original blog post. Note, it’s not just my perspective but others who are referenced in the blog post. Let people and patients decide what is best for them. That’s informed consent.

      But in general and based on all of the medical evidence we have and the current medical guidelines (except for the exceptions I noted in the blog post), in patients who otherwise feel healthy, do not have any symptoms with regular physical activity of any problems, and who check their cholesterol, blood pressure, and BMI, periodically and treat those issues if they ever become problems, the answer appears that HealthFair screening is not worth the money.

      • Thank you, Dr. Liu for your report on this screening “craze.” I had wondered about it for quite sometime, & after reading your report, I now further understand it. I always just figured that these companies exist because insurance won’t generally cover such extensive testing without symptoms or a pt. complaint, thus empowering the consumer as really being conscientious.

        However, your point is that if there was clinical evidence to substantiate these claims, insurance companies would reimburse. Hence, such evaluations as colonoscopy, mammograms, etc. have been clinically proven to intercept potential serious illness, thus being viewed as preventative. Ah ha!! Makes a lot more sense now.

        It is pretty sad that the medical field has become so commercialized & there is so much marketing for medical services. I had a hunch that there was the possibility of efforts to up-sell their services, once you are there, as indicated by a comment by a former employee.

        I think I’ll save my $150.00, thanks to your interpretation of facts.

        Thanks so much for posting.

      • I have a question about how the Carotid Artery test given by Lifeline can actually cause harm. Are you saying that the test procedure itself can increase the risk of a stroke? Or is is further tests and procedures indicated by the initial test, that can cause a stroke? If you could clarify, I would appreciate it. Thanks!

      • Considering that most doctors, during the regular visit, have 15 minutes or less to check on the health of a patient, I feel that it’s much up to me to take care of my body, and get educated what may be wrong, what needs to be examined, maybe checked further, maybe treated as well. My car gets more attention at the garage than my body at any doctor’s visit and check up. Therefore all doctors, medical and chiro should welcome any outside help, such as LifeLineScreening. The small amount it costs compared to the multi thousand dollar visits at hospitals X-Rays and MRIs, is surely worthwhile spent, just to know if something is wrong, or not, just because. Now that’s my opinion and I have been around for over 68 years, and have my experiences with mis-leading diagnostics by well-meaning medical doctors, because they didn’t know any better. helmut s. Monterey, CA

      • Thank you Dr. Liu for taking the painstaking time to share your expertise and giving your free, objective, medical opinion. Fortunately, most seem to be as appreciative as I. Unfortunately, so many do not understand the “system”. Good or bad, like it or not, there are “methods” (as you’ve described) by which insurance companies will justify paying for such tests and those are based on medical evidence (showing rationale, for example, for mammogram screening for women over 40 or CRC screening beginning at age 45). At very least (as you also mentioned), the presence of basic symptoms as rationale. It is not a matter of doctors “being cheap” as someone commented (should they dig into their own wallets to go on fishing expeditions for all their patients by ordering every test under the sun when there is no medical evidence to justify such tests????). There are so many who are completely medically irresponsible about their own health. They neglect themselves medically, then happen upon (or receive as a gift) health fair or lifeline and get the lifesaving result (like 70%, really 85% artery blockage). Ironically, statistically speaking, they would have prevented this result had they had regular check ups and taken care of themselves for the past 2-4 decades (well checks are covered by insurance by the way, often without co pay or meeting deductible, for the very reason that there is medical evidence proving that this will avoid expensive health catastrophes in patients down the road). I have a funny feeling that the person who made a crack at your spelling error (piece instead of peace), has a “little man” or other inferiority complex and gets his/her jollies off of “showing up” a well-intentioned doctor. This, despite your generosity in sharing the expertise that has taken you years to earn (not to mention, the patience to remain professional despite some of these ingrates’ snarky comments). By the way, to the person was so quick to dismiss your invaluable knowledge and point out your simple spelling error, CRC is the simple medical abbreviation for colorectal cancer. Something that was sure to have puzzled YOU but not Dr. Liu!

      • Is there any risk by taking the tests from Lifeline? Can the lifeline equipment or tests cause any medical problems at all? Thanks!

  23. It’s interesting to go to indeed-dot-com and read the reviews on LifeLine from its employees. People who work in the call centers for sales seem to be generally happy (but read: SALES, not simply appointment scheduling). Medical technicians complain of long days, trying to turn over patients every 5 minutes, and the pressure they feel to upsell more screenings. I was kind of on the fence but am for sure going to throw away my screening “invitation”.

  24. Bridget Gould: That’s what I was asking Dr. Liu about….
    Several people have reported that the Life Line Screening test alerted them to a problem. That makes me think that at least a couple of the screenings are worth it. I am waiting to hear what Dr. Liu says.

  25. I have also received a invitation and after reading this blog and the reviews am still not sure what to do.
    According to the doctor since I am a 63 year old non smoker, who exercises regularly , not over weight and try to eat healthy 70% of the times this would be a waste of money.

    On the other end, I have been on Statins for 15 years plus due to high cholesterol that is mostly hereditary .
    My brother who is 2 years younger and also in good health recently had a heart attack due to a blockage.

    I am interested in the screening possibly having the capability of showing some blockages going on that my family doctor may not recognize because I am in good health and have no external symptoms.
    Any comments/suggestions would be appreciated.

  26. Donna has asked a question several times, and has yet to get a direct answer form the doc. We noticed that and like Donna, would like you to answer her. Specifically about the reference to Doris’s comment

  27. After reviewing these comments i’m glad I had the test done. I’m in the transportation business and see way to many young people who have had strokes. I can rest assure knowing I took the proper steps to have this matter looked into. I was glad to see so many people of all walks of life having the test taken.

  28. I’m sitting here at the location for 3:35pm appointment, it’s 4:35 pm now but there r still more than 10 people ahead, I’m very disappointed. IMO, hospitals or Centre For Diagnostic Imaging (CDI) charge around $125-$250, not so much more but more accurate results. My advise, go to ur primary care, get him/ her to refer u to one if the imaging centre.
    Forget about Lifeline Screening

  29. I was diagnosed with Emphysema. My symptoms included shortness of breath, dizziness, lack of oxygen to all body parts, numbness of fingers, no energy, no appetite, fatigue, and bloodshot eyes. I was living at a place that has mold and mildew in the air conditioning unit. I also smoked a pack a day for 20 years. The Pulmonologist started me on Spiriva and Advair plus nose sprays, to reduce symptoms and slow down progression but I could not tolerate them for long due to severe side effects. I decided to adopt a more natural approach and started on Emphysema Disease Natural formula from THE HERBAL GARDENS, the Emphysema natural formula immensely helped my condition, it reversed my Emphysema. My severe shortness of breath, dry cough, low energy, fatigue, chest tightness and others gradually disappeared. Visit THE HERBAL GARDENS via their official web-site This Emphysema treatment has improved the quality of my life greatly, i breath much better and feel comfortable doing so. Since the procedure I enjoy walking the dog for my daily exercise. DON’T GIVE UP HOPE!!!

  30. I did the test several years ago and it showed I had thin bones, not the medical term, but that is what it was. I sent it to my doctor who ordered a x-ray scan. The x-ray tech asked how I got here and I told her. She said those tests should only be done for entertainment at carnivals. After the bone scan, I asked her what the results were, she said “you have thin bones.”

    I would have never guessed that I had an issue, but after 5 years of adding calcium to my diet, a rescan showed I was now normal.

    I don’t think these are tests that should be done yearly, but one test when you get into your 50’s can let you know just what shape your body is in. It may not save your life, but it could. I think it is worth the risk.

  31. My mother died of aortic aneurysm. She’d had cancer and chemo. Five years later the aneurysm.
    I’ve often wondered as I’ve gotten older 63 if I should be screened.
    Why don’t they do complete screenings in one visit as precautions. I’ve had CAT scans and MRI s for other reasons. It’d seem logical to just have a total scan if you’re already there.

  32. Seriously, this review relies on USPSTF recommendations? The same group that doesn’t recommend mammography until age 50 and only every other year because the cost outweighs the benefit. As someone diagnosed with breast cancer at 39 and 45, I question that your review relies on a governmental group that places more weight on cost than potential benefit.

  33. I paid for all 4 screenings up front . When I got there I was told the bone scan machine was down so I didn’t receive that screening. When I called to find out about it I was told that according to their records I received that screening. Somebody is lying. No wonder they want their money up front. total rip off

  34. I had those tests in 2009 and I received a sonogram copy of the carotid artery which also showed white dots around my thyroid which turned out to be cancer when I showed the picture to my doctor he had me tested for thyroid cancer (fine needle aspiration) and I had my thyroiD removed. Just another possibility of discovered problems you would not otherwise know about!

  35. Ok so i have done the research & i actually believe what it all seems to say, that there things are a scam, but the question still remains. I think i am probably speaking for a lot of people when i say one can take ones car in for a more numorous point “multipoint check up/diagnoses” than one can get for ones own body, & my gen, gen x, is hitting that stage in our 40’s & 50’s not 60’s & 70’s. With so many different “silent killers” possible diagnostics based on talking to the patient seems somewhat lacking. Mechanics dont even invest much in what the customer says but yet doctors base most of their conclusions on discussion with patient, im a person who strives to always know what i am talking about & as a patient, i may not know what the Hell i an talking about when trying to describe “what i feel like is happening with my body”. IS it even possible for one to gain the same insight about the condition of ones own body that one can gain about the condition of ones car?

  36. I’m interested in finding out if having ACL surgery in years past would have any after effects later in life? I had a procedure done were they had to take a tendon and screw that tendon were part of the ACL was missing, they put screws in to attach it with the remaining ACL, to make it whole again, I some time feel, as if those screws are trying to come through the skin, and I feel stinging in the knee, from time to time. Can you explain if that’s a possibility.

  37. Just a few thoughts to those who have responded:

    Only you can decide your risk factors and worries, and only you know how much peace of mind is worth to you, personally. I am going to get the screenings.

    As to knowing your car, it is very possible…I am a 50 year old woman, and I can work on my own car…you just need to apply yourself. As to anything worth achieving. Like knowing your own body and health. Of course it is possible…if you bother to apply yourself. It’s all about what is important to you.

    If everyone stepped up to take accountability…for your own health, your own everything,,,,this world would be in a lot less trouble.

    As to the idiot who made the NRA comment…well, this is not the forum for your comment. I am a patriot, and I will fiercely defend my rights. There are quite a lot of us, you know. (You will be glad of that fact, should you find yourself in need of defense, since you will be unable to defend yourself!) You should keep your short-sighted comments to yourself.

    God Bless America, and Namaste.

  38. Two yrs ago i had lifeline screening check everything. They said to check my thyroid. My dr.said my thyroid was fine. Needless to say my thyroid was not fine. 5 doctors misdiagnosed me. Biopsies came back normal. Only one doctor got it right. I had thyroid cancer spreading to my lymph nodes. The dr said if it wasnt for lifeline screening i would be dead in 3 yrs. Nuff said!!!!

  39. I signed up to go for this for July 9, 2018. I have an extensive health history and I am only 53 years young. I had a disecting aortic aneurysm at age 28. (1993) In 2006 they found 2 aneurysms in my aorta ….a 5 and 8 cm . I ended up in Cleveland and underwent a serious of aortic reconstruction and aoritic reinforcement. On June 8, 2018 I woke up with very limited vision. Come to find out I suffered a stroke which impacted my visual field. Needless to say, I was visiting my parents in WVa when this all took place. I went to the Cleveland Clinc in Ohio where this was determined. I went here do to previous surgeries that I have had here. I lnow live in Wyoming where I am not disatisfied with my new doctors, it is just that there are so very few and it takes forever to get into a doctor. I signed up for this test because I could get in quicker for this than I could for an echocardiogram which I need due tp this stroke…..I am now freaked out and I am willing to pay anything for a peace of mind! Small price to pay…and I have awesome Insurance! Ready and willing to pay!

  40. How long does it take for 2 people to have these tests by Life Line?And can you both do them at same time by different tech?

  41. I just found this article because I just got a mailer letting me know that a local church was having life line come there to do this screening and I wanted to check the legitimacy. I got my answer here thank you. The reason I ask is that I happen to be an Advanced Practice Nurse in a vascular practice and we do these tests every day. I found it ironic that I was on their mailing list. I once had a patient bring in a printout of her tests from LifeLine. She told me she had been paying for screening through them yearly. I found that sad because she was paying out of pocket for tests that would have been covered through her insurance if she truly had issues that warranted them.

  42. V Topper you bitched someone out for being political and you were worse than them. Take your favorite gun and shove it up your ass and emty it!

  43. Thanks for your article Doctor Liu. I kind of thought what you wrote about the efficacy of this testing was true, but it is nice to read a formal article by an expert that corroborates this. I saw the commercial by this group and was 99 percent certain it was a waste. Thanks for saving me time and money.

  44. Thanks Dr. Liu for confirming what I suspected that this was a waste of time and money. I saw the commercial for Life Net and was 99 percent sure. Your factual and knowledgeable article helped seal the deal.

  45. I’m a 52 yr. old female smoker. I got the invite in the mail when I got home tonight. I’m not sure if I’ll go but reading the article along with all of the comments, I’m leaning towards going. Anymore opinions, or people that have had it done recently are appreciated

  46. People are willing to spend $500.00 or more a year to service their car. We spend thousands maintaining our homes. In addition, I challenge everyone to calculate how much you spend each year eating fast food or other restaurant food. In comparison, $150.00 a year to have a check up on our bodies is nominal. If you are healthy the tests will not show anything, but in the alternative, they could find something and save your life. These tests don’t check for every possibility but they can show you things that require a lifestyle change. My carotid artery screening showed a slight amount of plaque in both arteries and that caused me to start exercising and change my eating habits. It may not be for everyone but if you can afford it, do it. I have it done about every three years and I give the results to my doctor. I have never had a bad experience but I’m sure others have. This is just like anything else we do. Some will like it and some will not. Make a decision based on what your gut tells you and you can’t go wrong.

  47. Lifeline screening saved my life in 2014. I had been to my GP in January for my annual checkup. He listened to my carotid with a stethoscope and heard nothing and assumed all was clear. GPS don’t routinely do ultrasound, only if they hear a swishing sound of blood trying to get around a blockage. I had a Lifeline Screening scheduled 2 weeks later. The carotid artery ultrasound they did saved my life. They found 90% blockage in my right carotid. I was instructed to take the results to my GP immediately. My GP sent me to the hospital to have ultrasound done again and results were the same. I was told that I would have had a stroke within 6 months because it was 90% blocked. It was not my GPS fault as they don’t do ultrasound unless the hear the swishing sound. I had NO symptoms! I was sent to a vascular surgeon and had surgery 2 days later. He could not believe I had had no symptoms. So yes, I am so thankful for Lifeline Screening. The small fee they charge is worth my life in 2014. My husband and I go every 3 years since then and just went again Jan. 21, 2019 and every test was normal.

  48. *I would like to say that I went for my testing on the 29 Jan. 2019.

    *I was not asked for my list of medications, vitamins, or other .

    *I also have to add that I have two legs and only the left one was scanned and for a total of approximately 10 seconds and I’m sure a scan of 10 seconds shows nothing. Osteoporosis can be present in both legs. The right leg was not scanned.

    *Also, I have two carotid arteries in my neck. One on each side. The right one was scanned for approximately 2 minutes. The left carotid artery maybe 15 seconds at best. The left artery is closer to the heart and is more pertinent. These scannings were done haphazardly and should be redone free of charge.
    Your claim to fame is about how great you are and how all your screeners have been trained proficiently. I beg to differ.

    C. Roussin

  49. Why a doctor would suggest that this service is unnecessary confuses me. The entire point is that we do not know what our arteries look like – and heart disease is a silent killer. When you have symptoms, you may be finding out for the first time in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. To list “no medical evidence” as a reason not to do it is misguided, and at worst untrue. There are many testimonies of people finding out they have a partial blockage for the first time and and then taking steps with their primary doctor on moving forward…how is this not “medical evidence” of being a helpful service….and I, personally, would say it’s helped a save lives based on the stories I have read. This doctor says that this is being marketed like a television or coffee machine, and I have to say this website is as well (I was pointed to it via a google search – lol). In the end, for me, the value of the services you get for $149 are way worth it. I also bring my results to my doctor and she appreciates the fact that I am being proactive about my own health – it allows us to work together. Maybe if these tests were cost prohibitive, I can see someone worry about the “marketing” aspect, or about them not always being necessary…but $149-179? Since we are discussing medical testing, it’s a bad argument, imo, to use the actual costs as a reason not to do it.

  50. did some screening for $400, paid $200 up front and the rest in auto pay, they keep taking money saying I’m a GOLD member, but the I never approved a Membership….GOLD for them….not for me

  51. I recently moved from insured to self pay. I was seeing a cardiologist for preventative maintenance since I have a family history of severe heart disease. They gave me the calcium scoring test however it has been at least 4 years and my cholesterol levels traditionally are high. I’m wondering if I should leverage some of these tests and then if a big variation from last test then book an appt with my cardiologist. I just want to make sure these test are the same ones they would give me .

  52. Here goes. My father had his first “Minor” heart attack at the age of 52. At that time they performed an angioplasty on two of his arteries. 15 years later at the age of 67 he was all set to have a bypass of the femural artery due to poor circulation of blood to his lower leg, but his cardiologist recommended he first have his heart checked out to make sure he was strong enough for the surgery. It was at that point they discovered he was in IMMEDIATE need of a quadruple bypass. All of this turned out fine and he is 82 today and doing ok. My question is this, How could the doctors who had continuously seen my father after his first “Minor” heart attack have missed the clogging of his arteries?? Could a test like this discovered the gradual plaque build? I also want to know if I should have this test as I am approaching 50 and have had high cholesterol for many years.

  53. My personal experience with Life Line Screening was blood test results that were 40 points off of my typical numbers (Cholesterol). As a prostate cancer survivor, I also needed to do a PSA test and those came back 30% higher then what I was expecting. So I decided to go to the clinic and get all new blood tests down. Sure enough all of my numbers came back exactly where I thought they should be. Pretty much identical to my numbers from one year earlier. Life Line Screening wouldn’t refund my money and offered no solution. They are a rip-off company that I will never go back to.

  54. Results provided by Life Line Screening may place customers at risk, I had Life Line Screening in February 2020. The results of the carotid artery ultrasound screening showed identical readings for both left and right side. I have never seen identical readings for this test. The test also showed no blockage on either side. One week prior to the life Line Screening, I had an ultrasound performed on my carotid arteries at the Cleveland Clinic that showed 20-39% stenosis on the left side and 60-79% stenosis on the right side. When I sent the Clinic results to the doctor who did the reading for Life Line, asking for how this could happen, I received no response. Life Line telling me all is OK could have had dangerous results had I not had the real data from the Cleveland Clinic.

  55. I used to have these types of tests done on a regular basis until 2 years ago. I came to realize that these screening tests are mediocre. They are not totally worthless but neither are these tests the best you can get. As a general rule, only the most egregious cases are flagged by these mediocre screening tests.
    The carotid artery screening looks for blood flow problems. But many people who suffer deadly heart attacks or strokes don’t have a blood flow problem. Yet they have enough arterial deposits to cause inflammation.
    Nowadays I select blood tests offered by companies like Walk-In Lab which has an excellent advanced lipid panel called Cardio IQ. A very good test for arterial inflammation is Lp-PLA2.
    I have coronary artery calcium scoring tests done on a regular basis. It gives you a pretty good idea of how extensive your arterial deposits really are.

  56. I use the screenings to look for changes. I am not expecting them to find a specific disease. I also use another screening company that does ultrasounds rather than the traditional mammogram. They check the lymph nodes too. When I had this done through my doctor and the insurance company I had to pay $600 out of pocket for an ultrasound. I rather pay less and have a qualified person do the ultrasound and send the images to the person who reads them. The results can be sent to your doctor. These exams are just to allow me to see if there are changes. If there is a change I can go see a specialist.

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