Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Privacy taken too far


My company uses Blue Shield as our health insurance provider.  I have been pretty unimpressed with them so far, especially compared to Great West, which we used at TiVo.  The latest annoyance occurred this week.


You can access both processed and pending claims on the Blue Shield web site.  I noticed that only a small subset  of our claims were appearing.  I sent them an email, and this was in their response:


We must be in compliance with privacy laws therefore you are only able to view your claims status on-line.


Each member of your family will need to register separately with a different username, password and their birthday in order to view their claim status.


So they want us to create an account for every one in the family, for privacy purpaces.  The funny thing is that when they send the paper confirmations for each claim, they are all addressed to me, and not to each individual.





The other thing about this is that this implies that our kids, which are both under 5 have to register for accounts.  This goes against the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.  They do state:


As small children are not able to register themselves, Blue Shield understands and accepts that their parents, or legal guardians, register on their behalf for the purpose of claim reviews and plan information.


This seems like it is an annoying hassle, without much benefit.  I just registered all of the accounts, and now I just have to switch between them to check all of the claim status, which defeats their goal.