Sunday, November 22, 2009

When Health Insurers Know Nothing About Depression

Just when I thought health insurers in the US were beyond stupid a woman in Quebec has lost her benefits because of pictures on Facebook. Nathalie Blanchard had to leave her job due to a major depression last year. Now her insurer, Manulife, says she is able to go back to work because of "happy" pictures on her Facebook page. A page Blanchard said is supposed to be locked allowing only people she approves to see her photos.

This is so wrong on so many levels. How will Facebook explain strangers getting to pictures they told her were private? Who in their right mind would use Facebook as a diagnostic tool? I predict this will end up in court.

If Manulife insures people with depression then they really should have a better understanding of what depression is. People who are depressed go out. They go on vacation. They try to look happy while doing it. They do it for other people because they don't want to drag them down. People also act happy to try and hide their depression from others. Just because someone looks happy in pictures doesn't mean they are happy.

I also can't believe some of the mean spirited comments the story has received. They're mad because she went on a vacation. They think she shouldn't be spending the benefits she paid for on a vacation. No where in the story did it say she paid. Would they feel better if the vacation had been bought for her? If it had she would feel a responsibility to take some "happy" pictures for the benefit of the person who paid?

They're also mad because she went out to a club a few times. One of those times was a staggette. She wouldn't have wanted to ruin her friend's wedding by not showing up or going and moping around. She would have put on a happy face.

Depressed people are very good a hiding their condition. They feel that people would not understand and think less of them. They also don't want their illness to spoil things for others.

Let me make another point: just because you're depressed it doesn't mean that it is impossible for something to strike you as funny or make you smile. The good feelings don't last beyond the moment and that is part of the problem.

Read the story.

Find out more about depression.

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