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Trading Health Information for Insurance Perks

Jackie here. How much is your privacy worth? A life insurance company is hoping that consumers will trade a bit of privacy for a discount. The new program will provide participants with an activity tracker and steep discounts in exchange for information about their health habits. What privacy implications does this program have? Would you sign up?
Privacy and Your Health: What’s the Connection?
When it comes to trading information for insurance discounts, experts fall on both sides of the spectrum. Some believe the discounts will be a great opportunity for consumers, while others worry that privacy is more valuable. Let’s take a quick look at some of the pros and cons.
Benefits of Activity Tracking for Insurance Discounts
If the privacy policy is straightforward (be aware that policies can and do change) and consumers are aware of how their data will be used and who it will be shared with, programs like these can encourage healthy habits. When people are rewarded for healthy choices (like going to the gym), many argue that they are more likely to make these choices. Not only does this mean discounts, but it can also lead to better health overall, a benefit that has virtually unlimited financial value.
Risks of Activity Tracking for Insurance Discounts
Sharing your health and activity information for a discount does have the potential for some risk. Some privacy experts worry that changes in your health could result in losing your insurance policy when you need it most. A life insurance company could potentially cancel a policy when they realize that a person has been afflicted with a long term health complication. Other experts worry that insurance companies will use the information they gather to create tools to deny or cancel coverage.
Additionally, these programs could result in negative rate changes for healthy people that can’t exercise at the moment. For example, women may be unable to engage in the same physical activities immediately after having a baby or injuries may keep people from being able to work out, potentially resulting in rate spikes.
The data gathered may also be valuable to hackers. Activity trackers learn your habits (when you exercise, where you go, etc.) and can provide valuable information to potential thieves.
If you choose to partake in one of these programs, be sure you fully understand how your data will be used and who will have access to it.

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