Imagine a world you live in where every insurance offering is accompanied by a creepy set of Big Brother-like ongoing investigations into your life. Everything will be used as evidence against you. Yes, even your Facebook profile.
That world is here. Well, not right here, but up north in Canada.
Yes, a Canadian insurance company decided to keep tabs on a woman it was paying sick leave benefits to, and lo and behold, that woman was having — wait for it — fun!
Nathalie Blanchard, a 29-year-old IBM employee from Quebec, took a long-term sick leave from her job after being diagnosed with major depression. Her doctor told her to try & have fun, and to take a sunny vacation to get away from her problems. She did just that while she received monthly sick-leave benefits from Manulife.
And she posted her vacation photos on her private Facebook profile. But recently, the monthly payments stopped.
Why? Because Manulife, her insurance company, found the photos and made the medical diagnosis — from a photo, mind you — that she no longer suffered from major depression. From a photo.
After all, if you’re having fun, there’s no way you could still have clinical depression, right? I mean, depressed people aren’t allowed on vacation. They can’t go to parties. And last time I saw one dancing, it must’ve been what, 20 years ago?
The insurance company not only has shot itself in the foot by acknowledging that it spies on its customers through any means possible — including their online social media profiles — but in also the thoughtless, stigmatizing way it treats people with a mental health concern, as second class citizens.
Depressed people can’t have moments of joy? Depressed people can’t have a fun day, but still get home and feel the weight of their major depression weighing down on them? Depressed people can’t dance?
Ignorance + Stigma = Ridiculous.
So while this serves as a warning to anyone who thinks that what they post to Facebook, Myspace, or Twitter is harmless or innocuous — think again. It can and will be used against you to deny you coverage and services. It will be used against you to deny you future employment, or insurance (or insurance will be offered to you at much higher rates). Companies like Manulife will continue to get away with this sort of behavior as long as they have customers.
Read the full story: Woman Loses Sick-Leave Benefits for Depression Thanks to Facebook Pics