Don’t you wish apple watches were free? For Aetna employees, this wish is now a reality. On September 27th Aetna issued an official announcement that it will be partnering with Apple to offer free wearable technology Apple watches to its employees. Aetna will also offer discounted apple watches to large employers and individuals in 2017 during open enrollment. Additionally, Aetna will be working with Apple to create an iOS app that will help members
- Find important health information based on doctor diagnoses
- Manage and track their medication
- Pay insurance bills
- Manage health messages
These features will be combined with the power of Apple Health, Apple’s fitness tracking app. This app allows users to input health related information such as weight and vitals.
Rewarding healthy activity is a smart decision for companies that want to increase employee health, and down the line, decrease insurance costs. Aetna has made this process one step easier by working directly with Apple to provide this program directly. And while many insurance companies provide wellness programs such as gym reimbursements, none so far have worked so closely with a fitness company.
This program has many benefits for Apple users; this leaves many employees out. Only 12.9% of smartphone users use iOS, so for a large number of Android users, Aetna’s decision will have no impact. Moreover, Apple has experienced a large drop-off in watch sales recently, suggesting that the market might be flooded. In short, some Aetna employees might not need or want an Apple watch.
One final concern is how Aetna and Apple will handle private health information stored in Apple Health. Some users may worry that their health data could influence their insurance premiums if Aetna learns about it. This may leave many users hesitant to use a health app that could freely share their health data with their employer.
A possible solution for Aetna and other insurance companies considering such fitness programs, is to offer a third-party solution such as the one offered by IncentFit. This way, Android and iPhone users alike will be able to access all the benefits of their wellness program. Likewise, no health information will be shared with insurance companies or employers, leaving employees’ protected health information protected.
Fitness Tracking Options for Yourself
If you represent an organization, you may want to consider saving money by bulk purchasing workout trackers. One factor you should consider however, is that buying a fitness tracker alone won’t be enough to create healthy habits for your team.
You may want to consider our customizable activity rewards solution that will allow you to incentivize healthy behaviours by rewarding your team for completing any set of fitness activities that would be a good fit for your culture!