Canadian loses health benefits after company finds joyful Facebook pictures

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A 29-year-old woman from Quebec in Canada claims to have lost her long-term health care benefits she was receiving for depression, after her insurance company discovered pictures of her on Facebook smiling and having fun.

Nathalie Blanchard alleges that Manulife Financial cut off her long-term benefit payments because she was "available to work, because of Facebook." She was diagnosed with long-term depression, something her lawyer says keeps her from working. Blanchard was previously employed at IBM.

Pictures posted included Blanchard and others at her birthday party strip tease, as well as smiling on a beach, among various private photos taken while on vacation. She says Manulife told her this is proof that she no longer suffers from depression.

Manulife denies her claims saying they "would not deny or terminate a valid claim solely based on information published on websites such as Facebook,", but did not deny using the social networking site for gathering background information on customers.

According to Blanchard, her doctor told her to hang out with friends more and attend social gatherings as well as vacations. Blanchard's lawyer says he is seeking options on how to proceed in an appeal.