Many insurers offer breaks to people who wear activity trackers that gather data on them; as Cathy "Mathbabe" O'Neil points out, the allegedly "anonymized' data-collection is trivial to re-identify (so this data might be used against you), and, more broadly, the real business model for this data isn't improving your health outcomes — it's dividing the world into high-risk and low-risk people, so insurers can charge people more.
That means that if your fitbit-a-like shows that left-handed vegetarians like you are at higher risk for expensive medical treatments, then people like you will end up paying higher premiums — and you'll have helped make that possible.
Think about what that means for insurance. It's meant to be a mechanism to pool risk — that is, to equalize the cost of protecting against unforeseen health problems. But once the big data departments of insurance companies have enough information — including about online purchases and habits — they can build a minute profile about each and every person's current and future health. They can then steer "healthy" people to cheaper plans, while leaving people who have higher-risk profiles — often due to circumstances beyond their control — to pay increasingly unaffordable rates.
If we're not careful, pretty soon it'll be almost like there's no insurance at all.
That Free Health Tracker Could Cost You [Cathy O'Neil/Bloomberg]