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Wearable devices are big business — sold as a way to develop healthier habits. But critics say the urge for self-awareness can make users slaves to technology — and that sharing intimate personal information can make them vulnerable to exploitation.

Also, health insurers ask for hefty rate hikes. On today's Talking Point, a military family at war with the stigma of depression.

Photo: Vernon Chan

Health Insurers Ask for Hefty Rate Hikes 6 MIN, 30 SEC

Some of the biggest health insurance companies in the country are proposing hefty bumps in the rates they charge customers. Regulators in some states can reject or downsize rate hikes -- setting the stage for a debate this summer on whether the Affordable Care Act is to blame for rising costs. That's according to Louise Radnofsky, health-policy reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Louise Radnofsky, Wall Street Journal (@louiseradnofsky)

Fitness Tracking: The Benefits and Unintended Consequences 34 MIN, 32 SEC

Wearable devices to monitor bodily functions now constitute a multi-billion-dollar industry. Fitbit, Jawbone Up and other gadgets keep track of your blood pressure, sleep patterns, calories burned and how many steps you take in a day. The idea is to apply technology to human biology in order to develop healthier habits, but the value of self-awareness has limits. All that data can be overwhelming — and compromise privacy. On this rebroadcast of a conversation in March, will tracking and collecting so much personal information give new power to insurance companies and government agencies?

Robert Wachter, University of California, San Francisco (@Bob_Wachter)
Clive Thompson, Wired Magazine / New York Times Magazine (@pomeranian99)
Chris Dancy, "the most connected human on Earth" (@ServiceSphere)
Christie Aschwanden, FiveThirtyEight (@cragcrest)

Aschwanden on how fitness trackers make you more aware of your steps, daily activity
Thompson's 'Smarter than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better'
Associated Press on the challenges for doctors using fitness trackers, apps

US Military Personnel Still Reticent to Report Mental Illness 8 MIN, 30 SEC

Major General Mark Graham was a decorated officer who inspired his two sons to join the military. When Jeff was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq, the Army treated him as a hero. When Kevin committed suicide, there was silence. Those different reactions inspired surviving family members to begin a campaign — to erase the stigma surrounding suicide and depression.

Suicide in the military has become epidemic. Since 2001, more American soldiers have killed themselves than have died in Afghanistan. Now the parents of Kevin and Jeff Graham have devoted their lives to reducing the stigma that prevents soldiers who need help from asking for it. Their story is told in The Invisible Front: Love and Loss in an Era of War by Yochi Dreazen, managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine.

Yochi Dreazen, Foreign editor for Vox (@yochidreazen)

The Invisible Front

Yochi Dreazen


Warren Olney

Benjamin Gottlieb

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