WellPoint enters wellness program partnership With Red Brick – Behavior Based Health Insurance
Posted Sep 07 2009 10:20pm
We live in the world of integrated software and employee participation is an option with a device such as an iPhone to monitor activity, along with being connected to a Wellness Coach that could send you emails and text messages, some could be a nice warning telling you that you are not moving enough today, in other words, you are not exhibiting enough physician activity today. There are devices that one can wear that does this wireless reporting and you can read in the related reading below about a couple, who specifically target insurance and risk management companies to promote their sales, as shown on their websites.
If you want to check it out and have an iPhone, you can download this program and see how it works. The iPhone has a built in accelerometer tosense motion that makes this possible. This software is free but could easily be built upon for use in a proprietary system.
“Redbrick’s methods for tracking employees’ commitment to these health plans are surprisingly detailed (though they may smack a bit ofBig Brother). For example, it offers an iPhone application that records progress on a person’s walking exercises and beams the data back to Redbrick’s system. Pedometers and watches that do the same are also in the works, VentureWire reports. This might sound a tad invasive, but the company says that employers have the choice whether or not to make employees prove that they are following their custom health maps.”
From prior articles it states the use of devices are optional, but with the use of a device that is your human audit trail that beams information back to server another carrot dangled to give cheaper rates to employees that participate and if so, at what level, does the monitoring take place only during working hours or is this a 24/7 situation? Something to give some thought to if you still value a level of privacy.
Devices and the data they report are getting smarter and this is an area where one needs to know exactly where the data goes and how and when it will be evaluated, and if it could be used against you should a few days of insufficient activity enter into a situation where a medical claim is involved. For this reason alone, I believe that a personal health record should be the focus point to gather the information, and thus should a patient decide to share the information, they are in control and could shut it off if desired by stopping the sharing process. I could easily see where employees could possibly offered big discounts too for using an iPhone with participation with electronic proof that you are following the road map set forth by a coach.
Once again it’s in the algorithms that are created to collect and report data and will it evolve to the point of having to carry a device to have insurance? As costs go up, so do the requirements for additional data, we are seeing that now and the legal cases in some areas surrounding the use of some of the algorithms used to calculate payments for out of network charges.
Are we ever going to have someAlgorithmic Centric lawsto protect privacy? The other day I posted about the human hedge funds being proposed on Wall Street, where investors take part in life insurance policies and stand to lose money if the participating group ends up living too long. After reading such, I have a very strong distrust as do most who have read that article I would guess. Again as data aggregation continues and more information is made available, would some of this be intertwined at some point? These are questions, and good ones, as it is possible today, but again laws are needed to protect “personal electronic privacy” that are algorithmic centric and spell out the exact process, and we don’t have any such laws now as this is an emerging technology just getting started.
Personal Electronic Privacy should be addressed at some point, just as other privacy issues have, except it’s a bit more complicated and needs algorithmic centric laws and rules in order to protect citizens. BD
WellPoint Inc., the parent of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Wisconsin, said it has entered a partnership with health and wellness company RedBrick Health to create a new, behavior-based wellness and incentive program for WellPoint's affiliated health plans' large employers and health plan customers.
Minneapolis-based RedBrick contracts with employers to provide workers’ health assessment and screening tools, health coaching programs over the telephone and Internet, and other health and wellness services. Workers get financial awards for participating, and employers are able to reduce health insurance costs.