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Monday, October 21, 2013

Your prescription history is their business

Drug history
Think you can keep a medical condition secret from life insurers by paying cash for prescription meds? Think again.

A for-profit service called ScriptCheck exists to rat you out regardless of how diligent you are in trying to keep a sensitive matter under wraps.
ScriptCheck, offered by ExamOne, a subsidiary of Quest Diagnostics, is yet another example of data mining — using sophisticated programs to scour databases in search of people's personal information and then selling that info to interested parties.

To be sure, life insurers have a need to know as much as possible about the people they cover. This helps mitigate risk and potentially keep rates affordable for everyone.

But for anyone who is taking an antidepressant, say, or being treated for a chronic condition, privacy can be a key consideration. You may not want employers — or potential employers — to know what you're taking. By the same token, you may not want to risk a potentially sharp increase in insurance premiums.

"It's a tough issue," said David Bryant, a Los Angeles life and health insurance broker. "From the consumer's perspective, you may want to keep certain things under wraps. But when you buy a policy, an insurer will want to pull all information about you."

And thanks to ScriptCheck, the insurer doesn't have to give things a second thought. By purchasing this or a similar service, the insurer can be notified of all prescriptions you've filled in recent years, regardless of how...
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