Major U.S. insurance company to sell only health-tracker backed life insurance

#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/09/20/major-insurance-company-to-onl.html

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#2

Phew, with the profound constitutional and moral controls of actuarial practice, nothing bad can happen.


[Fight Club]

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#3

I don’t think Gattaca is a good comparison, unless we’re talking about human engineering and creating basically a caste system based around that.

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#4

If this becomes standard practice for health insurance it won’t take long before sedentary people start hiring healthy, athletic people to strap extra fitbits all over their bodies.

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#5

This is sort of the norm throughout the industry. They use this sort of data to provide discounts in some cases, not restrictive of who is insurable…but the motive is the same. Higher risk = pay more.

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#6

If they offer discounts for installing/wearing such trackers (such as here in France to young drivers who would otherwise have large premiums - and the gadgets are installed by the insurer, the client doesn’t have to supply their own), fine.

However, imposing 24/7 surveillance and tracking of fairly intimate stuff as a condition of being insurable at all is not OK.

I think they will discover very fast that:
a) This gadgetry doesn’t really work and is trivial to spoof (see e.g.: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=fitbit+cheating )

b) People will balk at this enormous privacy intrusion and they will lose clients. Even the youngsters here are not exactly buying into the surveillance gadgets in cars in droves - the financial benefits from doing so are too small to outweigh the privacy issues (and possible legal troubles in case of an accident where the gizmo could be used against them - e.g. to prove speeding).

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#7

Sounds like a great idea to make yourself, and the makers of any device you utilize (Ex: Fitbit) a target for the FTC.

Also, get ready for a bonus religious exemption demand.

Is the company mandated heart-rate monitor “the mark of the beast?”. A court might feel there must be a reasonable accommodation, such as doing insurance as you have for hundreds of years, in such a case.

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#8

I think you have a very cute perspective on what outrages people. Wearing the fitbit/applewatch in the first place is already a violation of these individuals privacy. The consumers already know this, and have bought in anyway overall. They already succumbed to this reality, now insurance companies are monetizing that surrender into “Hey we can save you money on your premiums”.

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#9

I really hope that’s true, but as much as I hate to say it, I haven’t noticed a lot of people balking at privacy intrusions. Some yes, but people seem barely to notice.

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#10

Cheating an insurance company is a dangerous game. They don’t care about cheating until you have a claim; however when you do, they can and will investigate whether you abided by the agreement you made.

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#11

You’ve apparently never dealt with an insurance company. They’ve thought of that, and if their “algorithm” thinks that your FitBit may have left your body for more than 7 minutes, then they’ll keep taking your money, but they won’t pay out any claims.

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#12

We’re happy to offer you insurance! Your premium will be $50,000 a month.

There’s no difference between a “discount” and “if you don’t we charge you more, as much as we like more”.

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#13

I once had a policy with SafeCo. I got very cross with their billing department once – they would send 10-12 envelopes a month invariably saying “not a bill” – well, one time, I got late on a payment and when I went back to correct it, the guy was a complete ass on the phone. So I talked to the manager, also an ass. I made my payment over the phone and said, “look, I’m going to take my business elsewhere if this the kind of treatment I get, but I’ll set up autopay so I never have to deal with you guys again” – fast forward six months, having paid my bill on autopay from there on out.

I get a notice from my mortgage company saying they have purchased property insurance on my behalf because I don’t have any. WTF? Turns out the manager just cancelled my policy on the phone since (“customer does not want to make a payment” or some damned thing). But they kept taking the money.

It would have been a complex but successful bad faith claim, but what shits. Anyway, shortly thereafter, USAA started offering home insurance in California (they hadn’t previously, I guess) and my father-in-laws 18 months in the Artillery in 1961-63 gave us an actual insurance product that doesn’t feel like it’s trying to screw me every time I deal with it.

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#14

That’s the free market at work!

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#15

I may have taken it too far. I strapped my fitbit to a racehorse and now my insurance company wants to sponsor me in the Kentucky derby.

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#16

:japanese_ogre::japanese_ogre::japanese_ogre:
Leaving alone the privacy aspect for a second. Suppose that we impose exercise to all US citizens, who suffer at present the worst obesity epidemic because of the lack of exercise. Wouldn’t it make them live longer and therefore need more insurance?

The cheapest health insurance client is the one who suddenly dies of a clogged artery at 55, isn’t it?

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#17

Also, get ready for a bonus religious exemption demand.

These are private companies and if your religious beliefs are incompatible with the product they sell, then you are out of luck.

#18

Life insurance, not health insurance.

#19

Health insurance (your topic) and life insurance (the topic of the post) are not the same thing. But yes, there’s long been an argument, for example, that smokers ought to be paid by the NHS here because they peg out early and don’t incur the costs of all those late-years conditions. Then again, they cost a fortune if they don’t just peg it, and end up with lung cancer or emphysema, I guess.

#20

“perks”

I.e. “we totally use this information to screw you over, but don’t worry, you get some minor, insignificant benefits as a result!”

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