Health Insurance And Big Data Intersect

Posted 18 Jul 2018

Companies Purchase Your Data To Determine Your Rates

The laws regarding digital data in the United States is so lax, your data can be and is used against you, the paying consumer–accuracy be damned. ProPublica writes that health insurance companies are “tracking your race, education level, TV habits, marital status, net worth,” as well as “what you post on social media, whether you’re behind on your bills, what you order online,” and much more to predict how much you will cost them.

In a separate conversation, a salesman from a different company joked about the potential for error. "God forbid you live on the wrong street these days," he said. "You're going to get lumped in with a lot of bad things."
...[Aetna] had obtained personal information from a data broker on millions of Americans. The data contained each person's habits and hobbies, like whether they owned a gun, and if so, what type, [data analyst Erin Kaufman] said. It included whether they had magazine subscriptions, liked to ride bikes or run marathons. It had hundreds of personal details about each person.

Enter LinkNYC.

Imagine the kiosks adding fine-grained data to the set: how much time it takes you to walk a block, how much time it takes you to bicycle a block, how long you dine at a restaurant and whether you are alone, times you leave and return to your home and how often.

The industry has a history of boosting profits by signing up healthy people and finding ways to avoid sick people — called "cherry-picking" and "lemon-dropping," experts say.