It can be a difficult task to convince Americans to go through recommended screenings for health. Data show that lots of people skip suggested cancer screenings even though they’re typically covered by insurance.
And yet, even as lots of people forgo routine care, a certain type of wellness-minded consumer is hungry for as much health data as they can find, giving rise to a market for pricey proactive tests, scans, and screenings done mostly for curiosity or peace of mind—and sometimes against the recommendations of medical experts.
In recent years, millions of people have bought direct-to-consumer tests to screen their saliva, blood, or urine for markers of future disease, and companies—including the now-infamous Theranos—have raked in millions of dollars in funding to provide such services. Some people have spent thousands of dollars for “executive” or “white glove” physical exams that include a battery of tests. Kim Kardashian was the most recent celebrity to promote full-body MRIs as a way to detect early health problems.
The pandemic likely plays a part in this trend—survey data suggest many Americans feel more health-conscious…