Health insurer based benefits on sleep habits

Health insurers are using new methods to monitor consumers enrolled in their plans, as one person discovered when his sleep habits unknowingly played a role in the benefits he received from his provider, ProPublica reported.

Tony Schmidt, an information technology specialist from Texas, found out his health insurance provider was spying on him through his sleep apnea machine––a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Schmidt discovered his provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield, was receiving his health data soon after registering a new CPAP unit.

BCBS maintained it is standard practice to monitor sleep apnea patients and even deny payments if they are not using the machine. Schmidt eventually returned to an older model of the machine with a removable data card.

The monitoring underscores how health insurance companies are leveraging more patient data to influence payments and benefits.

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