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Aetna Opens Up to Fund Apple Watches

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October 10
6:00 AM 2016

On Tuesday, Aetna announced that it will offer subsidized Apple Watches to employees and large-employer clients who want to participate into several wellness programs. Aetna said that these companies may also fund "a significant portion" of the Apple Watch Series 1's $269 cost. According to the company, individual customers will also be offered the chance to buy the watch at a discount, if they choose Aetna in the upcoming open enrolment season.

Aetna is the first U.S. guarantor to subsidize Apple Watches. Other major insurers, however, incorporate less expensive wearables, such as Fitbit or Misfit, into their wellness programs which can cost $100 to $150.

The company has already studied 600 prediabetic, morbidly obese participants and thereafter offer health coaching through phone to all participants and fitness trackers to a smaller group. About 60 per cent of those with devices continued past two calls, while only 20 percent of those without it continued. On average, the group wearing fitness trackers walked 3 miles and performed moderate activity for 49 minutes a day. The study, however, did not ask the other group how much they have exercised.

Joe Mondy, Cigna spokesman, told that the incentives for using wellness coaching and/or wearables include more or less $750 in premium discounts, and cash or health savings account funds.

"We are incredibly excited to use iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch to create simple, intuitive and personalized technology solutions that will transform the health and wellness experience for our members," said Mark Bertolini, Aetna chairman and CEO.

Furthermore, UnitedHealthcare offers wellness programs including wearables to more than 100,000 people in more than 40 states, including Connecticut. The devices are given to workers and their spouses for free on the insurance plan and once they meet certain goals, they can receive up to $1,500 a year for their health savings accounts.

"This is only the beginning -- we look forward to using these tools to improve health outcomes and help more people achieve more healthy days," Bertolini added.

Aetna, Inc.is an American managed health care company, which sells traditional and consumer directed health care insurance plans and related services, such as medical, pharmaceutical, dental, behavioral health, long-term care, and disability plans. The apps will be available in early 2017. 

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