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Prescription data used to assess consumers

Washington Post, August 4, 2008

Health and life insurance companies are increasingly using a health "credit report" drawn from databases containing prescription drug records on more than 200 million Americans to evaluate whether to cover individual consumers. While lawmakers debate how best to oversee the shift to computerized records, some insurers have begun testing systems that tap into prescription drug information, and also data about patients held by clinical and pathological laboratories. The trend may improve healthcare and save money, but privacy and consumer advocates fear it is taking place largely outside the scrutiny of federal health regulators and lawmakers.