Be Careful Selling YOUR Health Data

Know you privacy rights!

To sell us more goods and services, companies of all types really want a hold of our health date. Some firms will even pay us for data. But should you do this? Is the exchange worthwhile? Our data in trade for a fee.

This practice is the opposite of our goals in a prior post. Getting Your Health Care Provider to Be More Responsive

So, let’s consider these observations by Thorin Klosowski, writing for the NY Times: 

“If you work for a company with employer-sponsored health insurance, there’s a chance you’ve come across wellness programs such as UnitedHealthcare MotionHumana Go365Attain by Aetna, and Vitality (The New York Times offers Vitality to its employees).”

“Each program works similarly, offering some type of discount or financial incentive in exchange for reaching goals, usually verified by requesting health data collected by a phone or fitness tracker. Insurance companies offer these programs to encourage people to begin or maintain healthy habits, like eating well and exercising, thus reducing health care costs. Employers offer them as a way to provide financial rewards you can use toward the cost of insurance or gift cards.”

But, should you sell your health data?

“The health information you share with insurance companies, HMOs, health care providers, or company health plans is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which helps keep your data private. But not all workplace wellness programs are covered by HIPAA.”

“Pam Dixon, executive director of World Privacy Forum, says, ‘The best thing to do is take a close look at the privacy policy for that program. If it is a HIPAA-covered program, they’re going to have a Notice of Privacy Practices.’ Look for phrases like ‘your rights under HIPAA,’ ‘Notice of Privacy Practices,’ or ‘NPP’ in the privacy policy. If you see the term ‘we are HIPAA-compliant, the basic rule of thumb is the program does not fall under HIPAA. ‘”

Click the image to learn more.

Be Careful Selling YOUR Health Data
Image by Yann Bastard.

Author: Living Well with Cancer

I am a long-time business school professor, who is a Pancreatic Cancer survivor. I had Whipple surgery on February 12, 2015. In this blog, I want to help others live well with cancer. A positive attitude, caring family, strong medical team, and supportive colleagues are key. And support from other cancer survivors can be life affirming.

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