Wall Street Journal Expose: Your Boss Might Be Trying to Access Your Birth-Control Schedule

An article in the Wall Street Journal documents how some companies are mining data about their workers' personal health in an attempt to keep their insurance costs down.


"Bosses Harness Big Data to Predict Which Workers Might Get Sick," by Rachel Emma Silverman, explains how some businesses are hiring firms to dig up information about their employees' prescription drug use, risk for disease and other personal tidbits. The employers claim it's simply a new method to keep healthcare costs down and improve the well-being of their staff members.

However, as Silverman points out, employers are blocked from accessing workers' personal health information under federal law. This requires the companies to hire outside firms like Castlight Healthcare Inc., Jiff Inc. and ActiveHealth Management Inc. to dig up the dirt.

"Typically, when a company hires a firm like Castlight, Jiff Inc. or ActiveHealth Management Inc.," Silverman writes, "it authorizes the firm to collect information from insurers and other health companies that work with the client company. Employees are prompted to grant the firm permission to send them health and wellness information via an app, email or other channels, but can opt out."

In one particularly amazing revelation, Silverman writes that Castlight has recently started examining employees' birth-control choices: "To determine which employees might soon get pregnant, Castlight recently launched a new product that scans insurance claims to find women who have stopped filling birth-control prescriptions, as well as women who have made fertility-related searches on Castlight’s health app."

Read the entire piece at the Wall Street Journal.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.