Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Keep your information to yourself

Every time you sign up for another store's shopping program, where you are enticed by the discounts and special offers, you are actually giving away your information. I don't consider it as much of a problem at a clothing store or the grocery, but when its the pharmacy, that becomes another story.

CVS, Walgreens, and RiteAid offer their rewards programs and they entice you to use the card because you get special prices on products and other financial gains. When you pay for your prescriptions along with shampoo and bandaids or provide personal data points such as body weight, blood sugar, etc, it becomes another story.

"Walgreens this month launched a new smartphone app that customers can sync up wirelessly with their blood glucose and blood pressure monitors so they can feed their personal health information directly into the chain’s data system in exchange for discounts.

At CVS, you can get $5 back for every 10 prescription refills — if you waive your right to health care privacy protected under the federal health law known as HIPAA. And Rite Aid is experimenting with a service that other retailers are using to collect tons of data: special lockers that you can use to charge your cell phone for free, if you’ll give up your phone number, insurance costs, and shopping preferences."

The key words in there are "if you waive your right to health care privacy protected under the federal health law known as HIPAA". I bet you didn't even realize that you waived your HIPAA protection.

Seriously? I had no idea I was waiving my HIPAA right to privacy. Until I read this article I did not know that was going on.

"When asked how Walgreens was using all that health data, company spokeswoman Mailee Garcia said the company “does not sell personally identifiable information to third parties,” but may sell de-identified information."

Garcia said Walgreens is not currently using health data to market to the customers who provide it. But the app’s privacy policy explicitly states that Walgreens may use customer data to personalize advertising. The store can also combine data entered into the health app with personal information collected by other companies to create a more robust profile of individual customers.

The policy also gives Walgreens the right to change its privacy terms at any time and says customer data will be sold as an asset if Walgreens is acquired by another company."

So now that I know all this, I will not be swiping my card when I pay for prescriptions. I will pay for prescriptions at the pharmacy without my card and then pay for other items to get the discounts with my card. Seriously its not worth my privacy about prescriptions. If it wasn't the way to get the sale prices (and I am secretly very cheap and never pay retail unless I absolutely have to), I would ditch my card all together.

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