Facebook Used to Prove Cure for Depression

A 29 year old Quebec woman claims to have lost her health benefits due to photos posted on Facebook showing her having fun frolicking on the beach, enjoying a birthday party, and having a good time at Chippendales. After being diagnosed with depression approximately a year and a half ago, the Manulife insurance company reportedly sent an ex-IBM employee monthly payments for an extended sick leave to help her cope with her illness. Am I the only one who thinks that using Facebook to question an “illness” is  hardly the issue?

I’m hoping there is more to this story than appears to be written and reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Company. Most of the articles I’ve read seem to be harping on the angle, that using Facebook to terminate medical benefits is wrongful. Nathalie Blanchard reportedly told CBC that her doctor advised her to have fun as a way to forget her problems, including nights out at a local bar and short getaways to sunny destinations. She complains that Manulife told her that her Facebook photos are evidence that she’s no longer depressed and she has hired an attorney to explore next steps. Blanchard’s lawyer, Tom Lavin, stated “I don’t think for judging a mental state that Facebook is a very good tool.”

I’m trying to understand how and why these extended benefits could have been justified in the first place. Thanks to the unchecked, massive theft responsible for the downfall in economies worldwide, numerous people are suffering from serious clinical depression. What is preventing all of them from receiving a year and a half vacation sick leave on an insurance company such as Ms. Blanchard? I thought that only Americans had such a “Constitutional Right” to happiness, not Canadians.

Blanchard’s lawyer requested a new psychiatric evaluation of his client and thinks Manulife’s investigation was inappropriate. Blanchard estimates that the Facebook debacle has cost her thousands of dollars in benefits. So how much has her debacle cost policy holders in the form of the rising price of health insurance premiums? Am I missing something here?

Michael M. Wechsler, Esq.

Internet / Mobile entrepreneur since 1989, Intellectual Property attorney since the mid 1990s, former in-house counsel at iVillage.com, Senior Vice President of Business Strategy at Zedge, Co-Founder of the IDT Internet Mobile Group, E-Discovery expert and legal consultant with Kroll Ontrack, and owner and operator of TheLaw.com

Michael M. Wechsler, Esq. – who has written posts on The Law Professor.