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Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the beware-the-all-seeing-actuaries dept.

Privacy 353

New submitter jbmartin6 writes: The Panopticon may be coming, but perhaps not how we think. Instead of a massive government surveillance program, we might end up subjected to ubiquitous monitoring to save on our insurance premiums. The "internet of things (you can't get away from)" makes this more and more possible. Here a company saved money on its health insurance premiums by distributing Fitbits and an online service to enable reporting fitness gains back to the insurance company. We've already seen the stories on using black boxes to monitor drivers. There is even an insurance company named Panoptic! Heck, why not a premium hike for owners of this or that "aggressiveness gene"? What if in the future we got a quick "+50 cents" tweet for every scoop of ice cream? I suppose the natural stopping point might be the balance between an individual's willingness to be monitored and the desire to reduce insurance premiums.

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you can't get away from (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408611)

"The internet of things (you can't get away from)"

What kind of trollish shit is this?

Re:you can't get away from (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408721)

The funny kind?

Re:you can't get away from (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408745)

How is it trollish?

Re:you can't get away from (2)

NotInHere (3654617) | about 4 months ago | (#47408749)

You cannot choose whether the IOT comes to your work, and already now you are obliged to have a smart meter in the EU. And the companies will enable IOT features whether you want it or not, like the gsm modem in intel chipsets. It will be like planned obsolescence: you don't want it, but have no choice.

Re:you can't get away from (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47408957)

Often you can't even defend against it in your private environment. Want power? Gotta accept having a smart meter. Of course you can opt out to live like it's 1799, it's all opt-in, you see?

Don't want to be totally controlled while driving? No problem, you may of course walk. Public transport, you say? Sure, you just have to accept pretty much the same deal as you'd have to in your car.

Even opt-in isn't always really opt-in.

It's already going on... (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 4 months ago | (#47408753)

...ever put in that car insurance fob into your auto's computer port? (e.g. Progressive's Snapshot [progressive.com] , where they treat it as a cute little device that aggressively records everything your car is doing when you drive.) People (not corporations, *individuals*) go out of their way to use these stupid things, not fully realizing (or caring) that they're willingly allowing an insurance company to monitor everything they do.

But you know, it's okay because they get a discount and it's not the government doing it (*eyeroll*).

In all seriousness, if you want to whore yourself out for "discounts", I'd normally say that's your problem, not mine - but then I realize that the rest of us will get dinged for NOT opting-in, so damnit, stop that you idiots!

Re:It's already going on... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408849)

They're not whoring themselves out, they're making a choice to expose their safe driving for a discount. It's just the filter of your own mental illness that makes them look like bad people, rather than just people that make different choices than you do. You're the problem, not them. Get some professional help, and lay off the Slashderp. The paranoid, not very bright community here is feeding your delusions.

Re:It's already going on... (4, Interesting)

drakaan (688386) | about 4 months ago | (#47408899)

Actually, as someone who is a pretty conservative driver, I welcomed the option to let worse drivers subsidize my premiums in exchange for them tracking my driving for a while. I could care less that they know (for example) that I always signal turns and lane changes and don't aggressively accelerate or stop. I could also care less that people who can't demonstrate the same behavior are seen as a higher risk and charged a higher premium.

...except you, of course, since you're on my \. frinds list and all...

Re:It's already going on... (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about 4 months ago | (#47409079)

Why would they reduce your premiums when they could increase their profit instead? In fact they should raise your premiums, since a conservative driver probably has money in the bank, and will pay his bills.

Re:It's already going on... (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 4 months ago | (#47409119)

Why would they reduce your premiums when they could increase their profit instead?

Because that would drive away the good drivers and leave the insurance company covering only the bad drivers.

Re:It's already going on... (1)

swillden (191260) | about 4 months ago | (#47409015)

...ever put in that car insurance fob into your auto's computer port? (e.g. Progressive's Snapshot [progressive.com] , where they treat it as a cute little device that aggressively records everything your car is doing when you drive.

Very interesting... thanks for the link, I just signed up. I did find it interesting that my 2004 Durango is compatible with their device, but my 2013 LEAF is not.

It's OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408615)

It's OK if corporations do it in order to increase profits, because that's not communism.

roman_frosty_mir

Buffet vs. A La Carte (2, Insightful)

bondsbw (888959) | about 4 months ago | (#47408699)

This reminds me of buffet vs. a la carte expenses, just applied to insurance. If eating ice cream were to cost $0.50 extra each time (or I were to "save" 50 cents when I didn't eat ice cream), I might be more conscious about that cost and decide to not eat any than if that cost were figured in and distributed among all users buffet-style.

This may result in a healthier population, I would imagine. But given percentage profit caps due to the ACA (at least in the US), I suspect that profits would go down as a result. So, the plan backfires.

Combined with the negativity associated with charging a "tax" on eating tasty food, I doubt this really goes anywhere.

Re:Buffet vs. A La Carte (4, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | about 4 months ago | (#47408757)

It would result in a miserable micromanaged society. Fuck that.

Re:Buffet vs. A La Carte (1)

Bobberly (1677220) | about 4 months ago | (#47408847)

That and it'll only be offered as long as everyone isn't doing it. Reminds me of all the water conservation efforts. We used less water, the utilities brought in less money, so they had to raise the rates to offset the loss. In the end we all use less water, but pay more for the service. I bet this will only work for insurance up the point where hospitals have to charge more to make up for empty rooms.

Re:Buffet vs. A La Carte (3, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 4 months ago | (#47408939)

I might be more conscious about that cost and decide to not eat any than if that cost were figured in and distributed among all users buffet-style.

You assume that these companies would operate on objective and reasonable standards - that's so cute...

No, really, it is. Remember when everyone said that butter was bad for you and you had to eat margarine instead? Now it's the other way 'round (or looking to go that way). So - how would you feel about having to pay for all those times you bought real butter all those years?

Oh, even better - let's talk diets! Not like recommendations for those don't ever change from, say, the old four food groups to pyramid to tetrahedron, to... - oh, wait.

No thanks - I prefer to not put my eating habits and health in the hands of some corporate asshats.

Mind you, I'm 6' tall and weigh 170 lbs, and I play outdoors for fun. I also eat good food in moderation, but occasionally I love a big steak or a big ol' bowl of ice cream. This brings up another thing - no two people are alike. Some can wolf down a metric ton of crap food (I used to) with no ill effects, but you want them to be lumped in with a bunch of folks who gain 15 lbs just from the mere scent of caramel candy? Screw that.

Re:Buffet vs. A La Carte (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47408983)

Why stop at ice cream? There's a lot of activities that have some kind of risk associated with them, it wouldn't be fair to single some out. Riding your bike? 5 bucks to your accident insurance because you could have an accident. Climbing a ladder to change a light bulb? 2 bucks because you could fall down. Fucking ... depends, is it your wife or someone random? The latter is of course more expensive due to STDs.

But I really do NOT want to know where the detector for that would have to be located...

Re:Buffet vs. A La Carte (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 4 months ago | (#47409117)

working over 40 hours pay more as stress and long hours is bad for your health and people driveing home after the 10+ hour day are more likely to end in an crash.

More like find reasons to deny coverage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408623)

Save on premiums?!? What, that cuts into Insurance Corporations Profits! Much more likely it'll be to deny people coverage despite having paid for the insurance.

Re:More like find reasons to deny coverage (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 4 months ago | (#47408743)

Well, kind of.

With more accurate information insurance premiums can be set more accurately and this will result in savings. We can debate what portion of the savings will wind up with the insurance company, the corporate employer, or the individual insured.

Even if none of the profits wind up with the insurance company they may not mind. While the profits would be lower there would be lower risks with those profits. Boring stable profits are preferred to violate uncertain profits all things being equal.

Re:More like find reasons to deny coverage (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47409011)

Nah, why be so hard? You can safe on premiums, up to 20% lower premiums for you if you bend over and ... oh wait, you could catch something from that. OK, up to 20% savings on premiums if you, well, sit around at home and not do anything that could remotely be considered fun. No, wait, that would be unhealthy. So, 20% off if you stay at home when you're not at work and spend at least 20 hours a week on our monitored home gym (of course you have to buy that first).

Oh, and while we're at it, your premium just went up by 20%. But you can SAVE 20% as I just told you above!

Car Insurance Companies Too! (4, Informative)

GTRacer (234395) | about 4 months ago | (#47408625)

Progressive's been offering Snapshot, an OBD-II dongle you plug in and allow to monitor your driving. They get the data periodically and can give you discounts for safe driving.

Bet they can also up your rates for "normal" driving too!

Re:Car Insurance Companies Too! (2)

TWX (665546) | about 4 months ago | (#47408655)

I'm glad that my cars are pre-OBD-II.

But really, it comes down to that they can raise your rates when they want to for any or no reason. The only thing stopping them is competition from others that want the same revenue source.

Re:Car Insurance Companies Too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408709)

I'm glad that my cars are pre-OBD-II.

Why? Do you not understand the difference between "offering" and "requiring"?

Re:Car Insurance Companies Too! (3, Informative)

wiggles (30088) | about 4 months ago | (#47408783)

Just have to switch it around - instead of "offering a discount" for people who do this, think of it more as "charging a penalty" for people who don't.

Re:Car Insurance Companies Too! (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 4 months ago | (#47408891)

Furthermore, ECU integration isn't that important. If the device has a set of accelerometers and a GPS receiver (which I'm pretty sure they all do), they can know all about how the car's being driven even if it has a carbed engine.

Re:Car Insurance Companies Too! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47409147)

I'm glad that my cars are pre-OBD-II.

Don't be. If it is ever decided that thou shalt be tracked, they will simply install Accelerometer/GPS-based black boxes in all of the vehicles, and your engine will be irrelevant. They'll know how you were driving, and when you were doing it.

But really, it comes down to that they can raise your rates when they want to for any or no reason. The only thing stopping them is competition from others that want the same revenue source.

Yep. Anything which is mandatory and not fully transparent is guaranteed to be a scam.

Re:Car Insurance Companies Too! (0)

epyT-R (613989) | about 4 months ago | (#47408691)

You save for now, then they start charging higher premiums if you don't get the service, then it becomes law and the prices go back up, leaving you with the monitoring and the high price. Mandatory insurance of any kind is slavery. Artificial protection against artificial threats (lawsuits).

Re:Car Insurance Companies Too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408921)

Mandatory insurance of any kind is slavery.

Do you even know what slavery is?

Re:Car Insurance Companies Too! (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 4 months ago | (#47409123)

Yes. Do you?

Re:Car Insurance Companies Too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47409209)

Ok, then maybe its "insurance" you don't understand. Or possibly "any" or "kind". In any case, there seems to be a paranoid disconnect with reality throughout your ramblings.

Re:Car Insurance Companies Too! (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | about 4 months ago | (#47408703)

I always found the commercial for that ad very fitting. She's in a dark shady street corner and its parodying a black market dealer. I wonder if the advertiser had a sense of humor.

That said, you should read TFS. "We've already seen the stories on using black boxes to monitor drivers" isn't an exact reference, but its the kind of behaviour they're referring to.

Re:Car Insurance Companies Too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408815)

After looking what the dongle does, it factors in length of driving, then how your speed varies.

My previous commute, no matter how much distance I had, I'd often have to panic brake, either due to a hyper-aggressive NAFTA truck driver trying to weave his load in and out of lanes, or some clueless college student doing similar, then panicing because the lane he just moved in is going 40, and he was going 70. I'm glad I never used the OBD2 dongle... I'd probably be paying a lot more.

At least now, I changed jobs, and my commute usually consists of avoiding the texter or the BMW driver blowing a red light at low speeds.

What I'm waiting for is to be charged more if I -don't- use an ODB-2 monitor, both both auto insurance, and some Fitbit like shackle for health insurance, as well as some app on my phone that raises my rates if I drive through a "bad" neighborhood, etc.

Re:Car Insurance Companies Too! (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47408907)

Progressive's been offering Snapshot, an OBD-II dongle you plug in and allow to monitor your driving. They get the data periodically and can give you discounts for safe driving.

Bet they can also up your rates for "normal" driving too!

My understanding is that they mail it to you... you drive around a bit and mail it back. Not quite the same thing.

Weapons Race (5, Insightful)

coinreturn (617535) | about 4 months ago | (#47408971)

Free Million Dollar Idea: Sell an OBD-II simulator that shows what nice, pleasant driver you are. Plug their dongle into that.

What's the point (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408635)

Under ObamaCare you are still subsidizing the people who don't take care of themselves...You really think those without FitBits will be charged extra??

Re:What's the point (2)

Dins (2538550) | about 4 months ago | (#47408679)

You really think those without FitBits will be charged extra??

No, but those with FitBits will be charged less! Wait...

Re:What's the point (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408707)

In the long run "subsidizing the people who don't take care of themselves" will save money for everyone. Even you. A rising tide lifts all ships and all that stuff.

Really, the best thing we can do now is to make sure everyone is healthy and educated and happy. You just never know where the next Einstein will come from.

Re:What's the point (4, Insightful)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 4 months ago | (#47408827)

"‘Smith!’ screamed the shrewish voice from the telescreen. ‘6079 Smith W.! Yes, YOU! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that. You’re not trying. Lower, please! THAT’S better, comrade. Now stand at ease, the whole squad, and watch me.
A sudden hot sweat had broken out all over Winston’s body. His face remained completely inscrutable. Never show dismay! Never show resentment! A single flicker of the eyes could give you away. He stood watching while the instructress raised her arms above her head and — one could not say gracefully, but with remarkable neatness and efficiency — bent over and tucked the first joint of her fingers under her toes.
‘THERE, comrades! THAT’S how I want to see you doing it. Watch me again. I’m thirty-nine and I’ve had four children. Now look.’ She bent over again. ‘You see MY knees aren’t bent. You can all do it if you want to,’ she added as she straightened herself up. ‘Anyone under forty-five is perfectly capable of touching his toes. We don’t all have the privilege of fighting in the front line, but at least we can all keep fit. Remember our boys on the Malabar front! And the sailors in the Floating Fortresses! Just think what THEY have to put up with. Now try again. That’s better, comrade, that’s MUCH better,’ she added encouragingly as Winston, with a violent lunge, succeeded in touching his toes with knees unbent, for the first time in several years.’"

"If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."
1984 - George Orwell

Re:What's the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408833)

You just never know where the next Einstein will come from.

Energy/matter equivalence has given us Hanford, Mayak, Chernobyl, Fukushima, Nagasaki, Hiroshima, TMI-2, Windscale and a planet full of thermonuclear warheads.

Careful what select for.

Re:What's the point (1)

Motard (1553251) | about 4 months ago | (#47408843)

In the long run "subsidizing the people who don't take care of themselves" will save money for everyone. Even you. A rising tide lifts all ships and all that stuff.

Really, the best thing we can do now is to make sure everyone is healthy and educated and happy. You just never know where the next Einstein will come from.

Or Hawking. I wonder what his FitBit readings would look like.

Re:What's the point (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 4 months ago | (#47409105)

Really, the best thing we can do now is to make sure everyone is healthy and educated and happy.

If the idea is to make people healthy so premiums go down, Obamneycare is a complete failure in that aspect since the smokers, obese, alcoholics and drug users don't have to change. They can continue doing what they're doing, secure in the knowledge that someone perfectly healthy, such as myself, is forced to cough up their money to pay for the bad choices these people make with their lives.

So, what other excuse are you going to use to try and justify having the government reach into my bank account if I don't pay for someone else's medical insurance?

Re:What's the point (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 4 months ago | (#47409169)

Uh no it won't. It will encourage everyone to not give a shit. We'll be equal alright, equally poor, unhealthy, and enslaved.

Re:What's the point (3, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | about 4 months ago | (#47408945)

We do that in the NHS too.

But the problem of having the NHS pay for treating useless fat chavs who eat too much, is far outweighed by relieving the entire population of the danger of medical bankruptcy at the hands of rapacious private health insurers and doctors.

And you know what? We in England **LOVE** it.

Medical bankruptcy is unheard-of in the UK, and we love it. Rich tossers who don't like having to wait for elective surgery can still get the gold-plated private crap if they really want it.

real vs pretend (0)

micahraleigh (2600457) | about 4 months ago | (#47408641)

It's OK when the government actually does this, but it's BAD when slashdot pretends the private sector is doing it.

In case you missed the memo.

Re:real vs pretend (2)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | about 4 months ago | (#47408697)

It's OK when the government actually does this, but it's BAD when slashdot pretends the private sector is doing it.

I tend to agree with your statement, absent the sarcasm.

The government scares me less because they don't want to maximize the money they get from me. In theory, I have far more control over my government than my insurers. Certainly I have more oversight, and there are laws governing what the government can do with my information. Private companies don't have the same restrictions, and even if they did they have limited liability, an army of lawyers, and my only recourse will be to get $1.28 in a class action lawsuit. And if the government wants to trump up charges against me, I cannot believe that would be aided much by knowing more about me. But the private sector wants to ring every penny they can from my wallet.

Bottom line, hell yes the

Re:real vs pretend (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 4 months ago | (#47408741)

Bottom line, hell yes the

Oh man, the insurance goons got him!

[John]

Re:real vs pretend (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 4 months ago | (#47408773)

The government scares me less because they don't want to maximize the money they get from me

You're kidding, right?

Re:real vs pretend (1)

sycodon (149926) | about 4 months ago | (#47408791)

The government scares me less because they don't want to maximize the money they get from me.

Tell that to the IRS

In theory, I have far more control over my government than my insurers.

You can change Insurers, but not really your Government.

Certainly I have more oversight, and there are laws governing what the government can do with my information.

ROFLMAO!!!

Private companies don't have the same restrictions, and even if they did they have limited liability, an army of lawyers, and my only recourse will be to get $1.28 in a class action lawsuit.

And you can't sue the Government unless they agree to be sued.

Re:real vs pretend (1)

mjm1231 (751545) | about 4 months ago | (#47408959)

You can change Insurers, but not really your Government.

True for now, but there's always the hope that one day the US will become a democracy.

Re:real vs pretend (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408999)

IMHO, The IRS has been pretty fair. I pay more "taxes" for my auto, home, and health insurance than I do to Uncle Sam on an annual basis.

Re:real vs pretend (1)

schwit1 (797399) | about 4 months ago | (#47408801)

"The government scares me less because they don't want to maximize the money they get from me."

What country do you live in, I want to move where you live because here in the USA the government thinks all money is theirs unless deemed otherwise.

Re:real vs pretend (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 4 months ago | (#47408851)

The government scares me less because they don't want to maximize the money they get from me.

I take it you have never been audited by the IRS. Worst thing I have ever had to endure, and that was as a college student filing a 1040 EZ and only having one job and a checking account. It was similar to one of those somewhat creepy police interrogation scenes in movies meets the stereotypical DMV waiting room.

Re:real vs pretend (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408903)

an army of lawyers

Do you know what the government has an army of? An army.

However, I do agree that the government is more trustworthy (OK, "less untrustworthy," because both are worth very little trust) than private, for-profit, publicly-owned companies. The latter have literally no interest in anything beyond their specific domain. The government at least has to ensure the survival of a society in some form.

To the GP, though. It's bad when EITHER the government or private sector is doing it. Or have you not been actually reading the comments on Slashdot?

Re:real vs pretend (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 4 months ago | (#47408909)

What class action lawsuit? Did you not read about the binding arbitration agreement?

Re:real vs pretend (1)

bmxeroh (1694004) | about 4 months ago | (#47408759)

Pretend nothing. Last year it was a simple, "fill out this questionnaire and enroll in one of these quick online courses and save $30 bucks a month." This year we have to do the same questionnaire, same courses, "oh but also go to your doctor and have a physical and blood work done, and here send this form back with all the results while your at it. Don't like our end run around of HIPPA regs? Enjoy paying $35 extra a month."

CVS is getting sued over that (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 4 months ago | (#47409203)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... [huffingtonpost.com]

maybe the good thing out of that is the end of employer based health-care

Kind of like supermarket loyalty schemes (1)

spike_gran (219938) | about 4 months ago | (#47408651)

One can draw an analogy between this and supermarket club cards, where you *can* buy groceries without one, but, it is 25% more expensive.

In this future, you can buy insurance without pervasive monitoring, but, it'll cost you extra.

Re:Kind of like supermarket loyalty schemes (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 4 months ago | (#47408673)

It's the perfect libertarian excuse for corporate abuse. You don't have to go along with the abuse. You can just live like an Amish person and avoid the abuse if you really want to. It's all your "choice".

Re:Kind of like supermarket loyalty schemes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408771)

You can just live like an Amish person

Given the accelerating trend of invasive technology, challenge accepted!

Re:Kind of like supermarket loyalty schemes (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 4 months ago | (#47408795)

Actually, it is. If you have a better way of offering goods at a Supermarket, that doesn't collect information, and offer it up, I'm sure you'll make a small fortune.

Libertarians don't complain, they create a market where others only see problems.

Re:Kind of like supermarket loyalty schemes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47409031)

And if anti-consumer actions provide a market advantage to the businesses who participate?

Re:Kind of like supermarket loyalty schemes (1, Troll)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 4 months ago | (#47408825)

It's the perfect libertarian excuse for corporate abuse.

Bullshit. Auto and Health insurance are now mandatory by force of law. That is where abuse comes in. A free market (without the coercion-by-government) would have insurance companies charging lower premiums for two reasons; first, because competition would kick in to keep prices low, and second, they would do so knowing that w/o the force of law, individuals wouldn't have to buy their products in the first place.

So no - auto and health insurance are no longer "free" markets in the true sense - governments (federal for the latter, state for the former) have made damn certain of that.

Re:Kind of like supermarket loyalty schemes (2, Interesting)

Cyberax (705495) | about 4 months ago | (#47409189)

Mandating insurance forces premiums _down_ because the pool of insured people becomes much bigger. By now most car insurances are near the lowest possible values - most car insurance companies are barely profitable. It's not yet true for health insurance, but it's already happening there.

Re:Kind of like supermarket loyalty schemes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408879)

And if there is an economic benefit to company A monitoring their customers, soon enough companies B, C, and D will do likewise - to keep up with the "Free Market".

There may be niche players that don't go along, but even so you options for conducting business (and functioning in the everyday world) become severely constrained.

In a way this is pure genius. You implement monitoring, you gradually increase social control, and as long as the government isn't directly involved and there is some (highly undesirable and practically unusable) alternative, your libertarians will still claim you are free.

Re:Kind of like supermarket loyalty schemes (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47408947)

It's the perfect libertarian excuse for corporate abuse. You don't have to go along with the abuse. You can just live like an Amish person and avoid the abuse if you really want to. It's all your "choice".

Says the guy that has no clue what Libertarians believe.

It's about liberty... including liberty from business and even other citizens. Anyone that understood and followed libertarian ideals would want this sort of practice stopped.

What you're talking about are anarchists.

Re:Kind of like supermarket loyalty schemes (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47409173)

It's the perfect libertarian excuse for corporate abuse. You don't have to go along with the abuse. You can just live like an Amish person and avoid the abuse if you really want to. It's all your "choice".

Well, to be fair, Libertarians also often suggest the dissolution of borders. Everything which was not necessary for the function of the minimally-sized government would be private property, and you could sell it to anyone you liked. But they'd be motivated not to move to certain places because they'd be exposed to prejudice; under such a system, you cannot be forced to trade with someone. It's a sort of choose-your-own-feudalism-adventure.

Re:Kind of like supermarket loyalty schemes (1)

TWX (665546) | about 4 months ago | (#47408683)

One can draw an analogy between this and supermarket club cards, where you *can* buy groceries without one, but, it is 25% more expensive.

Yes, an I'm sure that Oliver Clozoff of 1060 W Addison St, Chicago appreciates all of the junk mail from Kroger and Safeway.

Re:Kind of like supermarket loyalty schemes (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 4 months ago | (#47408855)

Funny indeed - it's drop-easy to fake out a supermarket club card.

Driver's license details and SSN on the other hand? Well, not so easy to fake (unless you're an illegal alien, I guess).

(I know, I know - in most states you don't have to update your DL info when you move, but in Oregon you're required to update your DL address within 30 days of moving, or you face a rather huge fine in addition to any other citations, should the cop discover that you haven't done so.)

They don't care about the cards (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 months ago | (#47409003)

They track you using your credit card. The cards are because people want them these days. Albertsons finally knuckled under and started offering them. Not because they needed them for tracking, like I said they already did that, but because customers whined they weren't getting a "good deal". So they raised their prices, and introduced a card.

Can't live with/without them... (1)

djupedal (584558) | about 4 months ago | (#47408661)

Insurance companies shaping coverage/billing based on client data? Shocked, I say....

Can you say red-lining?

Re:Can't live with/without them... (2)

sycodon (149926) | about 4 months ago | (#47408863)

I can see it now.

One day, after you stop in at the local Ice cream shop or fast food place, you get an email:

You have consumed products that have been deemed harmful to your health. You premium has been temporarily increased by 1% for this month. Continuing these unhealthy practices can result in a permanent increase.

Sincerely,

Your local Obamacare Health Oversight and Accountability Administrator.
A Healthy Citizen makes for a Healthy Nation.

Have a Healthy Day!

Re:Can't live with/without them... (1)

Cyberax (705495) | about 4 months ago | (#47409207)

Actually, this kind of stuff is NOT possible under Obamacare. Health insurance companies can't discriminate based on your medical history, the premium only depends on your location, age and smoking/non-smoking status.

Please learn to communicate (2)

Kohath (38547) | about 4 months ago | (#47408669)

without always using cliches like "panopticon". We'll take you more seriously, we'll assume you can think for yourself rather than just parroting something someone else said, and we might even read the article you linked to. Thanks.

Re:Please learn to communicate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47409091)

What, you must be some kind of Stasi working for the oligarchy or something. Boy, the sheeple are so stupid.

Can't say you didn't see this coming. (1)

gfxguy (98788) | about 4 months ago | (#47408675)

When we make soceity beholden to us, be become beholden to society. You can call it an unintended consequence, but no one with a brain can say it was an unforeseen consequence.

Won't be funny under single-payer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408687)

Think you'd be able to "opt out" of this after government takes over health care?

And how do you think access to health care is going to be controlled?

By government bureaucrats: "I'm sorry, you've eaten too much and you're diabetes is your own damn fault. No 'free' health care for you!"

Yep, the same people who want to outlaw Big Gulps will be running health care.

Lets be honest here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408693)

This has nothing to do with lowering insurance premiums and everything to do with Not increasing them, there is a difference. I highly doubt that the companies are willing to make less money because they have more data. They will either make the same amount or More. I hate corporate "Spin" and feel like this is just propaganda to help ease us into giving them more to charge us more.

Re:Lets be honest here (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 4 months ago | (#47408861)

Sophistry.

When "cutting the growth" of a program equates to "throwing grandma over the cliff, Draconian Measures and evil", the result is the same. You are paying attention, aren't you?

Want to pay for behavior riskier than yours? (1)

ewg (158266) | about 4 months ago | (#47408733)

Nobody wants to pay for claims arising from behavior riskier than their own.

Magical Pixie Horse (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 4 months ago | (#47408859)

But everyone wants to pay the rates of the healthiest, safest, best maintained because if you have to pay more than that you must be getting ripped off.

Most people can't understand statistics or probabilities that extend past a single coin flip. Hedges, short and long positions, defensive financial tactics are way beyond your typical American who can barely balance a checkbook. Understanding that insurance is a combination of both - not gonna happen. The only dichotomy that people "understand" about insurance is that it is an evil expense due every month that gives them nothing in return, and a magical pixie horse that pays you money if something bad happens to you.

Re:Magical Pixie Horse (3, Funny)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#47408961)

"a magical pixie horse that pays you money if something bad happens to you."

Surely you meant "a loud annoying duck that pays you money if something bad happens to you, even though everyone ignores him."

Insurance premiums can be reduced another way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408735)

#1 - Remove all tech that isn't relevant to processing claims.
#2 - Get rid of the supposed doctors and pharmacists that try to second-guess real doctors and pharmacists that actually know the patients and their conditions.
#3 - Quit trying to rape your customers by raising your rates every 30 seconds so some executive can buy their next mega-yacht.
#4 - Forget about the stockholders - hunker down, focus on serving your customers ethically and responsibly.
#5 - Quit wasting money trying to buy congress-kritters to get unethical laws passed.

The rest will follow

Re:Insurance premiums can be reduced another way.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408793)

But then how are the poor executives supposed to get their mega-yachts? Won't somebody think of the executives!

Re:Insurance premiums can be reduced another way.. (1)

schwit1 (797399) | about 4 months ago | (#47408865)

#2 - Get rid of the supposed bureaucrats, doctors and pharmacists that try to second-guess real doctors and pharmacists that actually know the patients and their conditions.
#6 - The government should stop forcing people to buy coverage they don't want.

Re:Insurance premiums can be reduced another way.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408925)

#7 - Patients who never had insurance before, but get it when they get "sick", need to pay a 10x premium and 10x deductible until they've paid the equivelent of 10 years of premiums.
                This is so that the rest of us who have carried insurance "just in case" don't have our premiums raised because some dumbshit figured they'd live forever and always be healthy so spent their premium dollars on something else they wanted.

Re:Insurance premiums can be reduced another way.. (1)

benjfowler (239527) | about 4 months ago | (#47408979)

Better yet, get yourself an NHS, and give everyone a basic health plan funded out of general revenue.

The usual corporate pigs will scream blue murder, but everyone will forget it once they realize the absolutely massive efficiency gains to be made, by having the system waste vast resources handling private insurance overhead instead of healing people.

The NHS over here is a gigantic, expensive command economy (and one of the biggest employers in the world), and it isn't quite up to Mayo Clinic standards, but it is absolutely, vastly more efficient than the colossal fuckup that is the US private health system. And it's abolished medical expenses as a cause of bankruptcy.

Not a few times, I've heard the phrase "thank God for the NHS". Americans will eventually understand the truth, and get one too.

Slow down; take a deep breath... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 4 months ago | (#47408739)

Heck, why not a premium hike for owners of this or that "aggressiveness gene"? What if in the future we got a quick "+50 cents" tweet for every scoop of ice cream?

...and no more coffee for you today.

Speculations (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47408751)

When did /. become a blog for the obsessively paranoid and a forum for wild speculations? 'News' for nerds indeed...

Re:Speculations (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 4 months ago | (#47408871)

You must be new here.

Re:Speculations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47409145)

That's what he WANTS you to think.

He's with THEM, you know.

A company saved on its health insurance plan (1)

JazzHarper (745403) | about 4 months ago | (#47408785)

by distributing FitBits to employees.
Did they also provide FitBit winders?

The real problem here... (1)

BenJeremy (181303) | about 4 months ago | (#47408797)

...is that instead of "saving" you on premiums, it will only be used as an excuse to tack on more to your premiums.

We already see this with credit ratings. Having trouble paying your bills, even though you pay your car insurance on time? Here's a nice 20% price hike to punish you.

This is the way this always works, particularly with an industry that you are legally mandated to do business with.

Re:The real problem here... (1)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 4 months ago | (#47408915)

Except that credit score is actually quite a good predictor of car insurance risk. Not saying that it's causal, but, overall, people who pay their bills on time also tend to drive more cautiously and get into fewer accidents.

I doubt the dna stuff will come true (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 4 months ago | (#47408807)

That looks a bit too invasive to me - there is no way it could be compulsory in the current USA constitution and I bet there are far more 'bad' genetic tendencies than 'good' ones.

But the fitbit stuff, I could see occurring - 10% reduction if you wear one 24/day and qualify. Not that different from what we do with cars today. Most importantly, unlike the DNA stuff, a fitbit monitor would theoretically encourage better behavior, which makes political sense, while dna mapping has tons of political issues.

The real problem we are having is not the loss of privacy per se, it's the abuse of private information. Most people are fine letting Onstar know their current location. We are not fine with Onstar telling anyone that information - not the police, not our wife, not our boss.

What we really need are a bunch of punitive laws that punish people/corporations for 'accidental' release of information. It doesn't have to be severe, but monetary compensation seems reasonable. They make X dollars selling the stuff, so we should have the right to get Y if they sell it or give it away without our permission (and Y should be far in excess of X).

Cheating (1)

benjfowler (239527) | about 4 months ago | (#47408809)

Why not simply outlaw insurance companies attempting to cheat? Because this is basically what insurance companies are trying to do -- make a big play at getting something for nothing off their subscribers.

Or when it comes to moral hazard, is there just one set of rules for us little people, and another for the corporations?

Will be the new credit score (1)

EMG at MU (1194965) | about 4 months ago | (#47408813)

With enough data these companies can compile a "Safety Score", kind of like how a few companies know everything about your financial life and give you a credit score.

Why wouldn't an apartment or condo community want to check your safety score? A lot of them do background checks and credit checks now, I can definitely imagine people wanting to live in communities where everyone has a safety score above some number. And I can imagine communities for the rejects. The more data companies compile on you the more they can begin to stratify their goods and services. If they do it right and it benefits more people than it hurts then it will work.

this is not for your benefit. (4, Interesting)

nimbius (983462) | about 4 months ago | (#47408937)

insurance companies are taking a page from social media and hedging their bets that you will concede to them monitoring your every waking movement. In most cases you arent told what exact amount you stand to save on insurance until after the metric is collected, and its usually very little (between 5-15%) You arent even told what metrics that little box is collecting or how theyre used, or how long theyre maintained. Most of the information they keep with these snooping devices becomes proprietary once you sign up. So why are you so ill informed about this?
its largely because insurance companies are using the metrics to forecast profit and loss to their board and shareholders, not because they actually care about saving you money. In some cases signing up for a biometric program might quietly absolve the insurance company from having to treat you for a whole range of different ailments they attribute to a sedentary lifestyle, thus saving them in quarterly losses. The worst part is nobody is asking questions like 'does this fitbit factor into my HIPAA protection?' or 'can this vehicle data be used against me in a court of law?'

full disclosure: im signing up for a workplace fitbit program subsidized by my employer. The data, presumably, is going to be aggregated from the devices and submitted to the health insurance company as "harmless biometrics" but as I cant sign up for my employers healthcare for another 7 months, I have no intention of using the device outside of the data i scrape from it in linux using fitbitd.

Metromile Automotive Insurance (-1, Flamebait)

adisakp (705706) | about 4 months ago | (#47408955)

You can save $$$ on low mileage car insurance if you agree to be monitored by Metromile [metromile.com] .

if you vote GOP they will use this to blacklist (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 4 months ago | (#47409095)

if you vote GOP they will use this to blacklist people who they thing will get sick and then they will only have the ER.

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