Aetna will become the first major insurer to put the power of the Apple Watch into its customers’ hands this fall via a subsidy program.
On the road to fitness
For years we’ve heard about employers giving out free fitness trackers because the exercise they encourage can lower the cost an employer has to pay for health care.
In fact, one of Fitbit’s corporate customers lowered health care costs by 6% after the first year using the Fitbit with its employees, according to Bloomberg.
That’s led companies like Target, BP, Bank of America and Time Warner to get on board with the fitness tracker craze.
Now comes Aetna’s announcement of its own plan. Beginning this fall during open enrollment, the insurer will subsidize a ‘significant portion of the Apple Watch cost.’ Aetna also plans to encourage people to take advantage of its offer by doing monthly payroll deductions.. That should make the remaining cost after the subsidy easier to handle.
No word yet on the exact dollar amounts attached to this developing plan.
Finally, Aetna will also provide the Apple Watch for free to its own nearly 50,000 employees, as part of the company’s wellness reimbursement program.
Other options for a healthier employee base
In addition to using the fitness bands and the Apple Watch, many companies have explored other alternate options to encourage a healthy lifestyle among their employees.
Some have signed on with Healthy Wage, which designs and organizes weight loss challenges and contests in which participants can win money for losing weight. The reality is this is a direct money maker for employers. As employees lose weight, medical costs and absenteeism go down and that boosts the company’s bottom line if they provide insurance.
But Healthy Wage isn’t the only player in the game. GymPact is another one. You join and create a contract with yourself, where you promise to pay a fee everyday you skip the gym and you earn a reward every day you show up and exercise. This app is available for both Android and iPhone. Other similar options include Stickk and DietBet.
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