Nothing to Hide?
“I have nothing to hide” is what young people today often say when they laugh off concerns about putting personal information on Facebook, Instagram, and everywhere else for all to see. Nothing to hide? Think again! Are you so wise that you know what your career will be in 25 years or what the political climate will be? Be very careful about what you post to Facebook, Instagram, blogs, and YouTube! There are two reasons, first because of medical insurance and secondly because of your career.
Why Privacy Is Important -Your Career
“Nothing to hide?” Maybe right now but how sure are you that what you say today wont come back to haunt you in a decade or that a photo you think is funny now wont end up being career limiting when it surfaces? Some companies DO google you and check out your Facebook page when you apply for work. You can be sure that if you have made posts boasting of faking being sick in order to go to the beach, or boasting about going to work every Monday with a big hangover that you wont be getting many calls for interviews.
You might not think your career is going anywhere but you never know what strange turns life may take and the last thing you want is some stupid photo of you smoking a joint to keep you from being confirmed to the Supreme Court. Even a photo of you drinking something as innocent as holding a glass of wine can cause you to be fired from some jobs!
Why Privacy Is Important – Theft
Dont make it easy for criminals to do their work, its pitifully easy without you rolling out the red carpet. Identity theft and old fashioned burglary is big business. Going on vacation for two weeks and leaving your un-alarmed house empty? Probably not wise to do this if you have posted your address, phone number, and the fact that you just bought the fanciest, most expensive 200″ flat screen TV that money can buy. Might as well leave the front door open. Same with identity theft. You know all those questions that you answer when setting up bank accounts? Think twice about using information you have posted to Facebook for those security questions!! Your high school? Your pets name? Those are commonly used questions for banks and my guess is there is a post on Facebook that would tell a would-be identity thief all they need to know to guess passwords and answer security questions.
Many bits of information that are completely innocent in isolation, can provide devastating ammunition for a thief wanting to make your life living hell. Think what might happen should a thief happen to find that pre-approved credit card offer on the street after the recycling truck spilled it in the gutter. The more information you put out there, the more scams that can be targeted at you.
Why Privacy Is Important – Medical Insurance
Until about 2 years ago, you could be denied medical coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. Things as simple as pre-hypertension, occasional smoking, occasional drinking, diabetes, low thyroid, depression, history of heart disease, a parent who died of cancer, obesity, or low testosterone could make you ineligible for health insurance. What is even worse, they would offer you coverage, you would pay premiums for decades, and then when you had a heart attack and it cost $200,000 for a 4 day hospital stay, they would deny your claim because you neglected to tell them that your great, great grandfather died of a heart attack or because you forgot to check off some box on your application form “you lied!”.
Basically, until 2 years ago, unless you were healthy as a horse there is no way you could get health insurance as an individual because companies only wanted to insure healthy people who would never need their services. It is only with the provision of the Affordable Care Act (commonly called Obama-care) that for the first time ever, insurance companies are being forced to offer affordable insurance to everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions. The thing is, this ACA is very tenuous and many 2018 Republican hopefuls are running on the platform of dismantling “Obama-care” completely. Should that happen, we are back where we started where health insurance is un-obtainable except for twenty somethings … who don’t need it. Some things are best left private and your medical history is one of those things.
Think twice before posting a photo of you smoking that cigar with your first born child or a photo of you holding a beer because if insurance companies are again able to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions, those innocent photos could provide them with the ammunition to deny a claim in the future. Its fine now but one never knows what the political tides of the future will bring and once the photos are out there – they live forever and you cant recall them.
Similarly, don’t discuss your medications, conditions, mental health, depression, or anything else either for the same reason. You can bet that before paying out a $100,000 claim, the insurance company will have someone who is a black-belt at social media and google spend a few hours looking for pre-existing conditions, errors on insurance applications and all other excuses to deny a claim.
One point worth making, even before the A.C.A., large companies offered health insurance that didn’t penalize those with pre-existing conditions. The thing is, if you look at the labor statistics, fewer and fewer people are working for large companies and more and more are ending up self-employed. As as self-employed person without group bargaining power you are at the mercy of the A.C.A to provide you insurance. You might have a job with a big company now but the trends say that a decade from now, that is less likely.
Guard your privacy!
Still think your life is an open book? Please be careful before you post in a public setting like Facebook or Instagram!! Remember, Facebook is notorious for resetting your privacy settings to “all public” when they upgrade their software! Post nothing to the internet that you would not want your grandmother, your boss, your insurance agent, your wife, your pastor, and the IRS to see and you will be fine.