Personal Information, Privacy and Insurance

I've been thinking lately about how information that is kept on us, by a whole variety of agencies and organizations, can be used against us. Unfortunately, a common place for information to be used against us is in the area of insurance.

Did you know that the things you tell your doctor can be used against you when you apply for insurance? Of course, you'll say; you have to expect that. However, have you ever gone through a short depression at any time? If your doctor considered it "signficant" enough, it could mean that you won't qualify for life insurance.

Now that could be a surprise.

What about that unexplained blip in your blood pressure that has never repeated itself, but that your doctor took note of? What if that meant that anything which happened as a result of high blood pressure would no longer be covered by your health insurance? (I actually had a period of high blood pressure in my 30's. It was very high for my age; 145 over 90, as I remember. Much too high for a woman age 30.) I did some research on high blood pressure, took some supplemental selenium and coenzyme Q10, and cleared it up. However, I also changed doctors and never used the doctor as a reference who had discovered the high blood pressure for any insurance applications -- since I'd only used that doctor for a short time.

While that may sound extreme on my part, I am sure I've avoided problems with both life and health insurance, as well as higher premiums.

Which leads me to the fact that many databases hold information on all of us. While this may be marketed as "to our advantage", I wonder how much of it will ultimately be used to charge us more money for insurance? If we get our children tested for conditions when they are young, and discover that they have certain genetic tendencies, will that mean that they cannot get health insurance later that will really protect them when they need it? If medical databases consolidate more and more, will these databases have the right protections so that insurers don't have unrestricted access?

I've been thinking a lot about this. Already we're seeing that our credit ratings are now being used to determine the premium we pay for insurance. This never used to be the case, but it certainly is now. In fact, if you've had a personal bankruptcy, it can become almost impossible to get insurance. Again, this didn't use to be the case. The more information that insurers can get at, the more they use this information to restrict and charge us more.

I'm not sure I like the trend.


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