August 5, 2008

Health "Credit Reports" Used by Health and Life Insurance Companies Prompt Privacy Concerns

According to a report yesterday in the Washington Post, databases containing prescription drug records kept by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) on more than 200 million Americans are being used by insurance companies to judge an applicant’s risk. Usually, insurance companies gather an applicant’s medical records from physicians’ offices, but health information services companies such as Ingenix and Milliman Intelliscript are providing electronic personal drug profiles, in essence a health credit report, to insurers. Consumers authorize the data release, but the practice of providing electronic drug profiles can often be used without the consumers’ knowledge according to some privacy advocates.

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