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Health Insurers Join Hunt for Terrorists

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DETROIT, Nov 17, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Two giant health insurers -- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Aetna -- have reportedly been drafted into the government's search for terrorists.

The Detroit News said the companies are looking at the records of millions of patients, employees and health care providers. The Blues report checking 6 million Michigan files and Aetna said it has checked 13 million people, nationwide.

The insurers say they're required by the federal government to conduct the searches; the government denies that, saying all it requires is the companies don't do business with terrorists.

Some public policy experts and civil libertarians say health care insurers shouldn't be forced investigate their customers and employees for terrorist links.

Virginia Rezmierski, an adjunct professor in the Gerald Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, told the Detroit News: "It's kind of disgusting. At what point did Blue Cross Blue Shield become an arm of the government, as opposed to a service provider for people? This worries me a lot."

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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