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Apple and Aetna are discussing ways to offer discounted Apple Watch models to millions of consumers with Aetna insurance, reports CNBC. Citing people with knowledge of Apple's plans, the site says Apple and Aetna held discussions last week that included senior officials from Apple, Aetna, and several hospitals.

Aetna already offers a program that provides the Apple Watch at no cost to its 50,000 employees and subsidizes the cost for some subscribers, but the insurance company is said to be negotiating with Apple to offer a free or discounted Apple Watch to all Aetna members.

apple-watch-trio.jpg
Apple's Myoung Cha, who has the title "special projects, health," led the discussions, said one of the people. The move by Aetna is part of its push to increase customer interest in a healthier lifestyle and a better tracking of diet, said one of the people.
Aetna is said to be aiming to implement some kind of program early in 2018, and its goal seems to be an expansion of plans that were announced back in September. At that time, Aetna said it was planning to subsidize the cost of the Apple Watch for large employers and individual customers.

Aetna also said it would develop several iOS health initiatives with "support" from Apple, offering "deeply integrated" health apps for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch to Aetna customers.

The company's plan to offer discounted or free Apple Watch models to subscribers comes as Apple is on the verge of introducing a third-generation Apple Watch. Rumors suggest the upcoming device features an LTE chip that allows it to be decoupled from the iPhone and there's also a possibility we'll see a redesign.

We expect to see the third-generation Apple Watch introduced alongside new iPhones in September.

Article Link: Apple Aiming to Bring Apple Watch to 23 Million Aetna Subscribers
 

Analog Kid

macrumors 604
Mar 4, 2003
6,977
7,065
I can understand "discounted" as a marketing effort on Aetna's part, but free always makes me nervous. Free means they see value in the data, will probably demand access to and ownership of the data, and US insurance companies have a track record of trying to find any reason they can to deny coverage.

Offered by doctors as part of a health maintenance plan for specific conditions to reduce the number of office visits, I'm on board with. Offered by insurance companies to everyone without an obvious need? I'm skeptical.
 

rjohnstone

macrumors 68040
Dec 28, 2007
3,808
4,289
PHX, AZ.
Nothing is "free". You will pay for it via premium increases.

Pretty sure they'll be data mining your activity, or lack thereof, so they can use it in calculating your premiums and/or deductibles.
No HIPPA release required since they already have it when you signed up for coverage. ;)
 

nburwell

macrumors 603
May 6, 2008
5,181
2,088
DE
I can understand "discounted" as a marketing effort on Aetna's part, but free always makes me nervous. Free means they see value in the data, will probably demand access to and ownership of the data, and US insurance companies have a track record of trying to find any reason they can to deny coverage.

Offered by doctors as part of a health maintenance plan for specific conditions to reduce the number of office visits, I'm on board with. Offered by insurance companies to everyone without an obvious need? I'm skeptical.


My thoughts exactly. When I first read about this, I was relatively excited. But after having some discussions with friends and such, it became clear that Aetna could easily have access to my health data should I get the watch through them.

Overall, I'm skeptical as well. I'd love to read the fine print on this when it's actually implemented.
 

techwhiz

macrumors 65816
Feb 22, 2010
1,268
1,752
Northern Ca.
My question is what kind of health data access will they require you to give up in order to get the free Watch. We all know nothing is "free."

My thoughts exactly.
My wife's job will give you $100 to fill out a wellness survey.
After that they require "wellness" programs.
Weight loss program becomes mandatory to fit their weight guidelines.
You must quit smoking, etc.

I'm all for a healthy lifestyle but I don't want them mandating anything.
We opt out of that survey every year. No thanks.
 

Zirel

Suspended
Jul 24, 2015
2,196
3,008
Congratulations everyone!

You’re now paying for other people’s Apple Watches in your insurance!

Also, have small kids? Have an hobby? Work for long hours? Simply don’t like to go to gym? The hell with you! You’re an unhealthy person! Pay more for your insurance, so people that go to the gym pay less!

Do you enjoy going to the gym? Well, better keep going, because you don’t want to pay more for health insurance, do you? Want to rest today? No chance! Or it will be expensive to your wallet.

People need to get one thing straight: “once you give up your privacy, you’ll never do anything out of pure free will”
 

8281

macrumors 6502
Dec 15, 2010
485
613
I'm a big believer in tech, but our goals should be to reduce health care expenditures and make the overall industry more efficient. If this can help that, then great. Otherwise, this is just another layer in an industry that already costs around $3 trillion a year for overall healthcare outcomes that rank lower than every other developed nation.
 
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Deelron

macrumors regular
Jan 30, 2009
235
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I can understand "discounted" as a marketing effort on Aetna's part, but free always makes me nervous.

Reasonable. In my case my insurance is from a city that is self insurered and they've been doing all sorts of similar things to focus on prevention as a cost saving measure, with the added side benefit that people are generally healthier in their life.
 

JoEw

macrumors 68000
Nov 29, 2009
1,537
998
Congratulations everyone!

You’re now paying for other people’s Apple Watches in your insurance!

Also, have small kids? Have an hobby? Work for long hours? Simply don’t like to go to gym? The hell with you! You’re an unhealthy person! Pay more for your insurance, so people that go to the gym pay less!

Do you enjoy going to the gym? Well, better keep going, because you don’t want to pay more for health insurance, do you? Want to rest today? No chance! Or it will be expensive to your wallet.

People need to get one thing straight: “once you give up your privacy, you’ll never do anything out of pure free will”

I'm not for weakening privacy, but I don't see what's wrong with unhealthy people paying more for their healthcare and healthy people paying less.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
23,132
29,263
Since when is an insurance company having access to data a bad thing? It’s insurance companies trying to make healthcare less expensive. And the way they’re doing it is with lots and lots of data, machine learning and AI. If I could get a discount on my insurance premiums or buy down my deductible by excercising a certain amount each week and my insurance company tracked it via my Apple Watch I’d sign up for that program in a heartbeat.
 

DotCom2

macrumors 603
Feb 22, 2009
5,504
4,326
This is just an insurance ploy to harvest user data. NOTHING is free. Especially when you are talking insurance companies.
 
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OldSchoolMacGuy

Suspended
Jul 10, 2008
4,197
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My question is what kind of health data access will they require you to give up in order to get the free Watch. We all know nothing is "free."

I'm sure at some point in the future they'll look to charge higher premiums for those in poor health and lower for those taking good care of themselves.

It's much like the Progressive SnapShot, where the data isn't necessarily being used for a lot now but in the future they can use it to help push for more favorable legislation to help their own bottom line. Like with Google, it's all about building a more complete profile of your customers in order to better understand them and market to them.

It'd certainly be interesting from the data aspect. Being able to say that these things make a person more likely to be overweight, more likely to suffer certain conditions, and much more.
 

hagar

macrumors 65816
Jan 19, 2008
1,436
3,145
If one company can pull this off without giving away user data to a third party, it's Apple. They would never agree to this deal if it entails an insurance company gettinf access to private user data.
 

8281

macrumors 6502
Dec 15, 2010
485
613
It’s insurance companies trying to make healthcare less expensive.

A smartwatch isn't going to make healthcare less expensive. Forcing hospitals to release their prices (called a Chargemaster) would help. Reforming the drug industry to stop them from paying their competitors to delay releasing generic drugs or repackaging old drugs to maintain patent protections would reduce healthcare expenses. Reforming billing and coding so they can't bill you for everything and anything would help.
 

k1121j

macrumors 65816
Mar 28, 2009
1,064
946
New Hampshire
Nothing is "free". You will pay for it via premium increases.

Pretty sure they'll be data mining your activity, or lack thereof, so they can use it in calculating your premiums and/or deductibles.
No HIPPA release required since they already have it when you signed up for coverage. ;)

How will they have it prior to coverage?? PHI is PHI
 

macduke

macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
12,114
17,149
Central U.S.
My insurance company has a program at my work where I get $450 in October for watching some videos about healthy living and doing various physical activities and tracking steps. I do it every year and it's not very much work (only have to get a million steps). It's how I paid for most of my first Apple Watch and I also use it towards buying other Apple gear in the autumn as we get it direct deposited. They also had a program (not sure if it's still active) where you get a free FitBit. I did that and my wife uses it.
 
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iReality85

macrumors 65816
Apr 29, 2008
1,099
2,372
Upstate NY
Since when is an insurance company having access to data a bad thing? It’s insurance companies trying to make healthcare less expensive. And the way they’re doing it is with lots and lots of data, machine learning and AI. If I could get a discount on my insurance premiums or buy down my deductible by excercising a certain amount each week and my insurance company tracked it via my Apple Watch I’d sign up for that program in a heartbeat.

Because you're looking at it from a cost savings perspective relative to you, not the insurer. And they are always looking to cut costs, which means charging you more for slip ups (as with most insurance).

It all sounds good, until your data reveals that maybe you didn't have such a healthy month. Maybe you ate some less-than-healthy food. Perhaps you weren't as active at the gym or that it's not summer and you're simply indoors more and gained 5 pounds during the holidays. Who knows.

The question is, should you be financially punished for that on your next bill? We're human which means we're not perfect. Our health, in many cases, is a reflection of that.
 
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